After two boys had deadly accidents involving manholes, residents of HCM City have expressed concern over the maintenance of public roads.
It is a common occurrence in urban Vietnam that manholes are left open or inadequately covered. On September 6, following heavy rains, a bus broke down on a street near a poorly-covered manhole. When the driver stopped to make a repair, a child from the bus was swept into one of these holes. His body was found that evening.
After these heavy rains, dozens of manholes on Phan Huy Ich, Au Co and Hong Bang streets have lost their covers. Bui Van Huynh, a motobike taxi driver operating on Phan Huy Ich Street, said the street is often flooded after heavy rains. Sometimes, the water is knee-high and the covers of some manholes can be swept away. He said, "This street has been under repair for nearly a year, most of the manholes and electricity posts are covered up lightly. When it rains, the two-metre-deep holes become threatening to travellers."
There has been public outrage over the situation. One parent commented, "They have been digging up these holes for two months now. There are a lot of children playing around here."
On the same day, a nine-year-old boy was swept into a manhole on 22/12 Street. His body was found three days later one kilometre away. The chairman of Thuan Giao Ward People's Committee said the sewer project of has been invested in by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. He went on to say that the project had been halted because of lack of funds.
However, the deputy head of the department blamed this problem on the large amount of trash in the system, which, he says, would lay blame on the communal authorities.