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Major Saigon Anti-Flooding Project in Trouble After World Bank Axes Funding

The future of a huge anti-flooding project in Saigon is in doubt after the World Bank ended funding for the work.

Tuoi Tre reports that last month the city People's Committee and the World Bank agreed to halt a US$400 million official development assistance (ODA) package for the Tham Luong-Ben Cat-Nuoc Den Canal project.

The project is currently halfway completed, while the newspaper did not share a reason why the funding was cut off.

Part of the project involved an upgrade of the Hy Vong Canal in order to alleviate flooding at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Overall, the work on multiple canals was intended to improve the lives of two million people living along 32.7 kilometers of waterways in eight districts.

City leaders are now uncertain where further funding will come from. The first half of the project, which included dredging canals and building roads alongside them, has already been completed, but the second phase of the project involving the construction of tidal drainage facilities as well as a pipeline to direct wastewater to a water treatment facility in Tan Phu District now has no money to work with.

Following the loss of World Bank funding, the Steering Center of the Urban Flood Control Program has asked city leaders to focus on the Hy Vong Canal near the airport, the news source reports.

The upgrade of the 1.85 kilometer-long canal is expected to cost VND488 billion (US$21.4 million).

The rest of the Tham Luong-Ben Cat-Nuoc Den Canal project, meanwhile, will cost roughly VND10 trillion (US$439.1 million). Nguyen Ngoc Cong, director of the flood control center, explained that private sector investment will be needed to continue the work, but this will be difficult to source since the canal will not generate revenue for investors.

City officials will also seek further investments from international organizations which focus on anti-flood programs.

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