Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh speaks at a working session with leaders of four central provinces (Source: VNA)
Ha Tinh (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh urged the People’s Committees of the four central provinces affected by the environmental incident earlier this year to award compensation transparently.

Compensation is a key task in the remaining months of this year, he said at a working session in Ha Tinh on October 31 with leaders of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces, where fish died en mass due to the environmental pollution in April.

The official asked the committees to review the list of people eligible for compensation and report to the Ministry of the Agriculture and Rural Areas (MARD).

He underscored the need to increase communication to seek public consensus on the Government’s compensation efforts.

Ministries, agencies and localities were requested to handle stockpiled seafood while the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment was tasked with destroying unsafe seafood and out-of-date products.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade will instruct Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and businesses to sell the safe frozen seafood. Enterprises trading these products will receive support in electricity costs and interest rates on taken loans.

The Deputy PM requested the localities supply rice for locals. He also assigned the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to prepare a vocational training project for the affected people, and the Ministry of Health to continue testing samples of seafood.

The MARD reported that Thua Thien-Hue and Ha Tinh provinces have conducted the first phase of compensation.

The Ministry of Finance has distributed more than 15,000 tonnes of rice to the four provinces. Ha Tinh and Thua Thien-Hue have completed their rice distribution.

The ministry also allocated 59 billion VND (2.7 million USD) sourced from the State budget to fishermen in Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces.

The four provinces have calculated losses, publicised compensation levels and answered questions about the process from locals.

According to the Health Ministry, up to 5,369 tonnes of seafood are stockpiled, of which 82 percent meets food safety requirements.

The Taiwan-invested Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Limited Company, on June 30 admitted responsibility for mass fish deaths in the four central coastal provinces. The company promised compensation of 11.5 trillion VND (500 million USD).

The Ministry of Finance transferred 3 trillion VND (134 million USD) to the localities. Of the amount, Quang Binh got 1.1 trillion VND (49.3 million); Ha Tinh, 1 trillion VND (44.8 million); Quang Tri, 500 billion VND (22.4 million), and Thua Thien-Hue, 400 billion VND (17.9 million).-VNA