Miscalculation of water level causes flooding in resettlement area

Relevant authorities miscalculated flood water levels in the northern mountainous province of Son La, resulting in the evacuation of residents from a resettlement area.

Son La Hydroelectricity plant. Relevant authorities miscalculated flood water levels in the northern mountainous province of Son La, resulting in the evacuation of residents from a resettlement area

The Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control in Son La Province sent a report to the National Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control on Thursday about the flooding in a resettlement area around the Son La hydropower plant, which resulted in the evacuation of 29 households of Muong Chien commune in Quynh Nhai district.

According to the report, the incident occurred as a result of gross miscalculation by relevant authorities who set up incorrect posts indicating the rise of water levels.

The concerned agencies said that they had miscalculated the highest water level at the hydropower plant to be at a safe 215 meters. As up to 218 meters is considered safe for establishing residential camps and for cultivation, the government set up a resettlement area for flood hit people on the indicated site.

The resettlement area was set up to protect the commune people as the plant’s reservoir was fast filling up and once the water levels crossed the danger mark, then 43,760 square kilometers across three northwestern provinces of Son La, Dien Bien and Lai Chau would have been inundated. For this reason, 19,000 families living near the Son La hydropower plant were moved to the resettlement area before further rise in water levels.

When water levels in the hydropower plant reservoir rose even higher, many parts of the resettlement area were inundated. Floods destroyed vegetable crops, ripe rice crops, livestock and much of the infrastructure.

By Ph. Hau - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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