Truong Van Long is Vietnamese in name only. He was born in Cambodia and has lived there for decades, including many years in a floating house on the Tonle Sap lake where he still lives. But his days on the water are numbered. Citing concerns over pollution and overfishing last year, Cambodian authorities have moved hundreds of ethnic Vietnamese families in the central province of Kampong Chhnang to land. More than 1,000 ethnic Vietnamese families, including Truong Van Long’s, who are still on the water will be relocated to land in the coming months, provincial authorities have said. "Why move us from the water? We are not in anyone’s way, and there is nowhere else for us to go," said Troung Van Long, seated on the floor of his blue-colored houseboat. "The officials say we are polluting the water, but it is industries and city people who do that. We just want to make a living from fishing - we will starve if we are moved," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Ethnic … [Read more...] about No room on water, no home on land for Cambodia’s ethnic Vietnamese
Thousands have lived without love not one without water
A group of migrants from the southwest of Saigon live on a piece of vacant land in Phong Phu Commune, Binh Chanh District. They have been hanging on to the fringe of urban life for over a decade in shacks without electricity or clean water. They make a living from growing vegetables such as cucumbers, gourds and bitter melons. “It started with just a few people but now we have around 20 families. We have no land to work back home,” said Nguyen Thi Ba, 74, from Can Tho. A company that owns the land rents it out to the migrants. Vo Thi Mai, 51, from Can Tho, said she works from dawn to dusk and sells her crops at a wholesale market every two months. A pit lined with canvas is used to collect rainwater for washing and showers. People here have to buy bottled water to drink and cook with. This 23-year-old woman and her 34-year-old husband from Can Tho take a shower in a pond as there's no tap water. … [Read more...] about In Saigon’s backyard, migrants eke out a living on the edge of civilization
Duc Hoang The most potent weapon of a consumer is to stop consuming. How do we then answer the question: "If we don't use their water, who else will provide it to us?" My family was among those troubled recently over the fact that our son's school was located just one kilometer from the burnt Rang Dong light bulb warehouse (that leaked 15-27 kilos of mercury into the air). Now we've got a new one: polluted tap water and the difficulty in getting bottled water. Since my family and I are not the only ones severely affected by this, since there are millions of us, one would expect the company responsible for the crisis to be hit hard by it too. However, the stocks of Song Da Water Investment Joint Stock Company (code: VCW) on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) still went up on Tuesday. There was no chain reaction following a public crisis like what one would see in a movie, where a negative news about a company spreads and causes its stock to spiral … [Read more...] about How can Vietnamese people manage a water supply monopoly?
The one-meter wide, seven-and-a-half-meter long space in an alley on Vinh Vien Street is home to Nguyen Van Ton, 82, his wife Trinh Thy Y, 74, their daughter, 53, and her grandchild, 12. The house was built 50 years ago when Ton came to Saigon from the Mekong Delta's Long An Province to work as a construction worker. He built the place himself, squeezing three floors and a mezzanine in between the walls of the two neighboring houses. "Even though the house is small, with the help of the ward's committee, I was issued a land use right certificate, a house number, along with electricity and water meters," Ton said. Y has retired as a nurse at a public hospital. She has lived with Ton in the house throughout their married life. "We cannot afford a bigger house. It did not bother us much in the past because we went out to work all day and only came home to sleep." In order to watch the TV, Ton has to stand near the box since there is no space to sit. It does not … [Read more...] about Living between two neighboring walls in Saigon
Ngo Tu Ngan "The water is fine now," a district official told Tu, a neighbor. Relieved at this official confirmation, Tu, in his 40s, immediately changed the water in his five shrimp farms. "What happened next...," Tu choked on his words as he tried to speak to my father, his face taut and lined. After losing the shrimp, Tu and his family did not have much left and had to sell pieces of land that they'd used to breed shrimp for a living. The day Tu signed the papers to sell the land, he cried. Those tears would never wash away the suffering farmers in the area have had to endure. Tu's sad story happened two years ago in my hometown, a village in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu where most locals engaged in shrimp aquaculture. Tu was not the sole victim of misinformation, of course. The water sources in my hometown had become badly polluted those days. We'd read in the news that the pollution was caused by factories dumping untreated waste into the local river. But authorities … [Read more...] about Can officials be trusted to make responsible statements during a crisis?