Hoi An faces erosion threats
  • | tienphong, dtinews.vn | November 01, 2014 09:40 AM

The loom of changing sea levels and tides are threatening the central town of Hoi An, and could destroy the UNESCO world heritage site.


Severe beach encroachment

Cua Dai Beach, once a famous destination among visitors, has already succumbed to increasing storm tides. "We lost the beach within a month," said Huong, a restaurant owner. "This was once one of the most beautiful spots in the area. I just can't believe that the sea could swallow up metres of beach overnight."

At least six resorts by Cua Dai Beach also face the risk of collapse. A house in front of Fuison Alya Resort has already collapsed as a result of the erosion of its foundation. Two newly-completed resorts now cannot operate. 

A metal levee is now being erected along a 300-metre section of Cua Dai Beach. The construction team must take advantage of every dry spell to complete the wall. "If we are not quick enough, rain and storms may come," an engineer said.


Wall erected to protect beach

Nguyen Van Dung, vice chairman of Hoi An City, said the situation is very serious. According to Dung, in the past eight years, the sea has encroached 150 metres. Recently, it is estimated they are losing between one and two metres of land each day.

In the time between 2012 and 2013, Quang Nam Province has also spend VND54 billion to build the beach wall surrounding the first 1.5km of Cua Dai Beach. However, there are still 715 metres of beach in front of Victoria and Fusion resorts, which are experiencing severe effects from erosion. Provincial authorities will spend VND10 billion (USD476) and Hoi An City municipal authorities will contribute VND5 billion to cover this section.

Dung added that this just a temporary measure, and may not be able to stop long-term sea encroachment. "In 2008, a VND800 billion project was proposed, but it remains on paper. Hoi An suffers with each coming of the rainy season, and its possible that the Hoi An heritage site may be lost to the sea," he said.

Initially, there was speculation that the construction of the Golden Sand Resort was the cause of erosion. However, leaders of Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands, as well as two lecturers from Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology have confirmed that this is most likely a natural phenomenon.

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