By Hoang Anh
Hanoi, Vietnam, October 3, 2015
Streets were turned into riv-ers in Ha Noi and HCM City in a matter of hours over the last few days in what have been described as historic rainfalls. Traffic was thrown into chaos as thousands of residents scrambled to get home in the driving rain that lasted for hours at a time.
The cause for the deluges was quickly put down to climate change, but the man-in-the-street blamed the poor drainage in both cities. They knew that the flooding occurred in the same place every year, even when the rainfall was moderate to heavy. This is despite the billions of dollars spent on anti-flooding projects.
Flooding has become too familiar in our big cities. And as the country continues to build more cities, it seems there will be more flooding.
Experts tend to associate rapid urbanisation with flooding. This is because the soil and trees that once used to soak up the rain has been largely concreted over or built on – and many f the natural lakes h ave been filled in.
In addition, the reclamation or narrowing down of many rivers and canals has made it much harder for water to get away to the Hong (Red) River, the region’s biggest river. In other words, urban flooding is largely man made.
City planners often consider flooding as a headache to be solved by water engineers at a later stage of development. The mentality is to build first and protect later.
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