Vietnam is using innovative technology to protect two communities from the effects of typhoons and floods.
The People's Committee of An Giang Province, together with Vietnam's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and international partners, have started a model flood-proofing project in the Mekong Delta.
The project constructs steep embankments that sandwich geosynthetic materials — strong textiles — between layers of earth covered with a heavy stone overlay.
According to Nguyen Phuong Dong, a geotechnical engineer, the geosynthetic fabric allows the water to pass through but keeps the soil firmly in place.
Between February and May 2008, embankments around 500 metres long and three metres high were constructed at two sites in the Vinh Hau and Donh Kenh Bay residential clusters, which together house around 250 families.
Using the same geosynthetic technology, a model raised platform for a house has also been constructed as part of the project in Vinh Hau village. The platform helps keep the house well above flood levels.
A handbook is being created to raise community awareness about the technology, and a regional workshop will be held in September to demonstrate flood-proofing technologies to provincial and local authorities, humanitarian agencies and donors.