Exposed electric wires flirting with leaking water, busted pipes and pumps; cracked ceilings, chipped stairs and steel beams poking through walls the way a femur punctures skin after a grisly accident: the 40-year-old apartments in District 5 will be receiving some much-needed repair.
The People’s Committee of District 5 announced plans to invest VND260 billion (US$11.2 million) to renovate 34 tenements built in 1975 in the district. A significant amount of the money will be dedicated to apartments at 14H Do Van Suu, 187 Luong Nhu Hoc and 48 An Duong Vuong which are home to over 1,000 households. Last year the district spent VND6.8 billion (US$295,000) repairing 22 dilapidated tenements.
The efforts represent cause for celebration in an otherwise distressing situation. The city has 474 old apartment buildings built before 1975, including 13 buildings deemed to be unsafe. Despite professed goals of rebuilding them by 2020, only 32 have been demolished and with few exceptions, the rest remain unrepaired due to lack of funds. The conditions in the tenements throughout the city are depressing at best, unhygienic and dangerous at worst.
In addition to a lack of government funds for repairing them, thanks to the small plots of land they occupy, investors are largely uninterested in purchasing the buildings to demolish them for rebuilding. Moreover occupants say that even if resettlement monies were sorted, they would have misgivings about moving because many operate food stands in the area and would have trouble adapted to a new location.