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Heavy flooding damages dam, delays major construction projects (08-06-2009) HA NOI — Several large-scale national construction projects have been damaged by unusually heavy flooding, according to the deputy director of the National Centre for Hydrometeorological Forecasting (NCHMF) Le Thanh Hai. Hai said that in February, downpours of up to 320mm had helped create cracks in the walls of the dam of the reservoir of the Son La hydro-electric plant in the northwest, about Flood causes landslides in the northern 300km north of Ha Noi. province of Son La. Unusually heavy flooding also damages several national construction projects. — VNA/VNS Many other big construction projects in the North, such as Photo Song Toan hydro-electric plants in Son La and Tuyen Quang provinces, phase 2 of the Ho Chi Minh Highway stretching from the northern border province of Cao Bang to the southernmost province of Ca Mau - and the Ha Noi-Lao Cai Highway in have all been heavily affected by natural disasters. "Weather forecasting is indispensable to construction, especially hydro-electric projects", said Vu Duc Luc, head of the Son La Management Board’s administration department. He said the cracks in the dam wall at the Son La project had been repaired and there was no threat to the dam’s safety. However, the work took a lot of time, slowing down progress. A representative of Coc Ly hydro power project’s management board said a small flood recently caused further damage estimated at several hundred million dong. The project is on the Chay River in the northern mountain province of Lao Cai. Continuous downpours in the province for six consecutive days last month halted work on related hydro-electric work in Su Pan and Nam Cun districts. Embankment projects for flood control on the Hong (Red) River have remained unfinished after three years’ work, mostly because of delays caused by flooding. Deputy director of Lao Cai’s Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting, Luu Minh Hai, said it was important that investors had good information on the weather because it directly affected construction. Luc said that the project’s management board had signed a contract with the forecasting centre to receive up-to-date weather information. Under the contract, the centre will make 12-hour, five-day, 10-day and one-month predictions. "Twelve hour forecasts on rainfall, water output and humidity are relatively exact and help us implement the project", Luc said. However, the forecasting centres cannot always meet contractors’ demands. Hai said Coc Ly’s investors wanted to sign a contract for 10-hour forecasts on flooding in the Chay River, but no agreement could be reached because the centre could only offer six-hour forecasts. This was not enough time for contractors to take steps to avert flood damage. Weather information is not cheap. Contractors could not afford VND4 billion (US$228,000) to receive private forecasts from the Tay Bac Centre for Hydrometeorological Forecasting in the northern province of Phu Tho for four years. According to the national centre, unusual weather and floods will occur nationwide this year. Heavy rain followed by burning sun is expected to affect key construction projects. "Most major projects have set up steering committees for storm and flood control to cope with the unusual weather", said Luc. — VN
"Heavy flooding damages dam"