Ha Tinh Villagers Protest in Bid to Get Formosa Payouts in Vietnam

2017-03-29
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A Vietnamese villager shows dead fish he collected on a beach in Phu Loc district of central Vietnam's Thua Thien Hue province, April 21, 2016.
A Vietnamese villager shows dead fish he collected on a beach in Phu Loc district of central Vietnam's Thua Thien Hue province, April 21, 2016.
AFP

Hundreds of residents from Thach Banh village in the Loc Ha district of Vietnam’s Ha Tinh province protested at the local people’s committee office on Wednesday in a bid to obtain compensation for pollution caused by a massive toxic spill from the Formosa steel plant nearly a year ago.

“We have gathered at the village’s committee office to protest” because none of the residents have received compensation for the environmental and economic losses from a chemical spill that polluted waters along four coastal provinces last April, said a female protester who declined to give her name.

People’s committees constitute the executive branch of Vietnam’s central communist government that carry out local administrative duties.

“Yesterday when we were here, they [people’s committee members] sent out some representatives to talk to us, but today they are closed,” she told RFA’s Vietnamese Service. “They took away phones from people who tried to record the scene.”

“Owners of businesses selling frozen seafood products and dried fish have not received any compensation” for the loss of their livelihoods, she said.

Wednesday’s demonstration was the latest of frequent protests by people in the coastal region affected by the disaster.

The April spill—Vietnam’s largest environmental disaster to date—killed an estimated 115 tons of fish and left fishermen and tourism industry workers jobless in four central provinces, including Ha Tinh.

Two months later, Taiwan-owned Formosa Plastics Group acknowledged it was responsible for the release of toxic chemicals from its massive steel plant located at the deep-water port in Ha Tinh province’s Ky Anh district.

The Vietnamese government said in a report to the National Assembly in July of that year that the disaster had harmed the livelihoods of more than 200,000 people, including 41,000 fishermen.

The company pledged U.S. $500 million to clean up and compensate people affected by the spill, but the government has faced protests over the amount of the settlement and the slow pace of payouts.

Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

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Hate Communist

from ghet bac Ho

Wow, a picture worths 1K words! I do feel an award is coming.
This is pushing the thorny crown of labors onto the sweating brow of the working poor! How can anyone sleep in bed or have a clear conscious after this? I guarantee, he has a family to feed and also supporting his parents. Not only his raising arms but also the dead fish are begging for justice. We don’t turn our backs to this and ignore the cries.
Then add the insults by political blame games, delay/inadequate/no payments, and cronyism at its best.
Hence, the people demands are justified.
This crime is against the working poor, the environment, and VN economy. The spill affected a swath less than 1/3 VN’s coastal areas – from Ha Tinh to Hue and as far south as Da-Nang! I love the region dearly. As a child I have many flies over these areas (always South of 17th parallel - of course!) and swum on its pristine beaches every summer.
When will these communist goons do the right things for the people and by the land they live on?
As I stated before, the communist goons had already received their $$$. The only thing left is to beat the poor from protesting to please the Chinese. Does this sound like an emerging nation getting ready to welcome and work with the ‘free worlds’?
Our ancestors have a saying and it’s passed from every king to their son(s) ‘…a country’s wealth and strength start with the people’. I’m surprise ole, frail, HIV looking Ho has forgotten about this or he left it out on purpose!!!

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