A TV programme broadcasted last week revealed that hundreds of people, including small children in Lo Son Commune, Hoa Binh Province, have to walk across an almost entirely destroyed bridge.
Bui Van Nuom, chairman of Lo Son Commune said a provincial inspection team concluded that the bridge had deteriorated so badly that it needed to be replaced. The bridge was officially dismantled in 2014 but while the structure remains intact people continue to use the only remaining narrow boarding.
Dangerous bridge in Lo Son Commune
Leaders of Tan Lac District said that they had banned people from using it and there was a bridge located just a kilometre away but villagers didn't want to travel so far.
Meanwhile, Lo Son Commune authorities said the dismantled bridge was in the commune's centre and people in six villages had to use it to go to schools and access other services on the other side. If they use the other bridge, the route will be four to five kilometres long and many people don't have bicycles and motorbikes.
It seems that it is just luck that has so far avoided any fatal accident. There are huge rocks under the bridge in dry season and dangerous floods in the rainy season.
In remote and mountainous areas, there are many locations desperately needing a bridge. Images of local people crossing the river by cable or being pushed to the other side in large plastic bags have been captured in the past years.
Former Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang once started a programme to build hundreds of bridges in disadvantaged areas, where the local budgets can't cover the repair or construction of the bridge. It had successfully raised fund from many firms to build bridges in the Mekong Delta.
However, the programme is not enough. People need a better programme that can review and evaluate all the traffic difficulties in all remote areas. It needs to be implemented quickly to prevent any possible accident.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also said during a conference about sustainable development that we mustn't forget the poor people.
The state budget has been cut due to lower revenues from crude oil and import taxes. A lot of localities also don't have additional sources of incomes. However, people's lives can't wait for government to issue policies.
Surely we could cut down on meetings, anniversaries, festivals and projects to build statues to repair or build a new bridge?