Seventeen kilometres of new dykes may be built along the Red River in the inner parts of Hanoi to legitimise the settlement of tens of thousands of people living mostly in illegal, often makeshift, structures outside the existing dyke system.

This follows a resolution on dyke planning until 2030 - with a vision to 2050 - approved by the capital city's People's Council.

The decision has now been submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for its consideration.

Hoang Thanh Van, director of the city's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the move was significant, adding that it would directly benefit those living outside the existing dykes.

"People living close to the river will be given permission to build permanent houses because their construction will not affect the dyke system," Van said.

Under the master plan, based on a South Korean study, new artificial levees will be constructed outside the present dykes to protect the residents from flooding. The distance between the two systems will vary according to the space taken up by existing development. New roads will also be built in the areas as long as they do not affect safety corridors, he said.

Van said the cost of the overall works would be about 30 trillion VND (1.4 billion USD). The first 17km of levees will be built in the inner city.

"If the plan is adopted, we will start implementing sub-projects immediately," Van said.

Specifically, the first sub-project will be aimed at upgrading existing dykes in the centre of Hanoi to create roads, helping tackle traffic congestion.

The second sub-project will be to build a levee system connecting Dan Phuong and Thanh Tri districts.

Levees will be first be built in areas where craft villages are located, such as Bat Trang, Long Bien, and Tay Ho.

Hanoi now has 800km of dykes. About 160,000 people - 2.5 percent of the city's total population - are presently living near dyke safety corridors.-VNA