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Saigon keeps calm and carries on amid floods and high tides

Posted by pis on October 20, 2016
| 0

A rural penninsula in the city’s Binh Thanh District has grown accustomed to an annual invasion of floodwater.

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When torrential rains and high tides returned to Ho Chi Minh City on Monday, hundreds of residents in the low-lying Thanh Da penninsula saw little choice but to calmly welcome a half-meter of water into their homes.


Nam, a resident of Thanh Da, donned rubber boots. As he read the paper, his daughter watched the evening news. “October brings the highest tide,” he said. “This happens every year. I just get used to the floodwater pouring in my house.”


Dang Thi Ut, the owner of a low-cost hair salon, was mid-haircut when ankle-deep water poured into her shop. “The tide started to rise at five in the afternoon; the same time I start work,” said Ut. “Flood or no flood, I still have to finish doing my customer’s hair.”

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Who knew a concrete bench would save this little dude’s life one day?

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A middle-aged woman waded through ankle-deep water to make dinner for her family. “We’ve lived here for years and got used to the flooding,” she said. “We have little choice than to deal with it like everyone else in the neighborhood.”

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An hour into the downpour, the rain showed no signs of letting up. By 6 p.m. the residents of Thanh Da had thrown up dikes and dams throughout their homes to keep the floodwaters at bay. Nhung, a mother of three, said her family’s preparation didn’t quite pay off. “We keep wooden planks and silicon grout on hand to seal the front door,” Nhung said. “But water still leaks into the house.”

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Water rose nearly knee-deep in a family’s bathroom.

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One man simply shut his door on the flood and took a front-row seat to the action outside.

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Those who bothered to elevate their floors a meter above the surface of the road said they still suffer from the annual floods. “Even though our home has never flooded, we still dread going out,” said a resident. “It takes so much effort to wade through the water.

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According to the southern region’s Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting, Ho Chi Minh City is expected to face the highest tides so far this year through the weekend.

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Since last Friday a tropical depression began passing through the city, bringing heavy rains, thunderstorms and strong winds. In the midst of the storm, facing high tide, the Saigon River is forecast to rise as high as 1.66 meters at certain points. “[Huynh Tan Phat Street] seems to be the city’s most flood-prone area,” griped Toan, a local resident. “The street quickly disappears in heavy rains and high tides.”
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Even the dead don’t get a pass.

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