Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the event (Source: VNA)


Quang Tri (VNA)
– Efforts to stabilise lives, production and business of people in central provinces affected by the Formosa-related marine environmental incident have paid off and local residents have put more trust in the Party and authorities, and united with each other to address the incident, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The government leader made the remarks while chairing a national conference in Quang Tri province on May 17 to review the performance of the steering committee for solutions to stabilise lives, production and business of affected people after the incident.

Officials have gained more experiences following the incident, PM Phuc said while lauding Ha Tinh province’s determination to bring the case on wrongdoings in compensating and supporting the affected fishermen to the court.

The leader attributed such outcomes to contributions of scientists, members of the steering committee, leaders and the political system at commune-, district- and provincial levels, army and police forces, and public support.

He highlighted the publicity, transparency, democracy, accuracy and close supervision in the work.

However, PM Phuc said, there remain shortcomings in the compensation work, sparking public complaints.

Citing the fact that 0.9 percent of the compensation fund has yet been disbursed, the government leader requested the early completion of support and compensation for local fishermen.

He described environment as a pillar of national development and asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to propose solutions to protect the country’s environment in general and maritime environment in particular for a long term.

The ministry was also urged to establish more environment monitoring systems in major cities, industrial parks and environmentally polluted spots, firstly in the four central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces, with the supervision of the public.

Besides, it is necessary to continue inspecting the operation of Formosa, especially after the test run of its second furnace, while ensuring security and social order and safety in the central region, he said.

Mass fish deaths were first reported on April 6, 2016 when a large number of fish were washed ashore in Ha Tinh province. The phenomenon also occurred in neighbouring Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces.

About 70 tonnes of dead fish were found in the four provinces. This environmental incident caused serious losses in the maritime ecosystem and seafood resources, affecting production, business and lives of around 510,000 people of 130,000 households in 730 villages of 146 communes and towns of 22 coastal districts of the four provinces.

In late June 2016, Taiwan-invested Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co. Ltd (FHS) admitted responsibility for the environmental incident and pledged to compensate 500 million USD (11.5 trillion VND) for affected people.

On August 23, 2016, the Prime Minister established a steering committee for solutions to stabilising the lives, production and business activities of affected residents.

In addition, the Government leader also decided to provide emergency assistance for affected locals, including over 19,000 tonnes of rice and cash worth over 101 billion VND (4.45 million USD).

According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, fisheries resources in the four localities have been recovered, with their seafood field hitting nearly 152,000 tonnes in 2017, up 23.5 percent year-on-year.

Consumers also feel secured in using seafood, resulting in increases in seafood prices.

Last year, the four provinces’ tourism sector bounced back as well, with rises seen in both the number of tourists and revenue.

To date, the Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co. Ltd has repaired 52 out of 53 faults, while installing automatic monitoring devices and cameras and directly transmitting its data related to the environment to the provincial Ha Tinh Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the Vietnam Environment Administration.-VNA