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Schoolchildren cross stream in plastic bags

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Many children from a village in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien have to cross a local stream to school by plastic bags. 

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Many children from Huoi Ha Village in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien have to cross a local stream to school by plastic bags

 

According to Vang A Po, chairman of Na Sang Commune, said that the locality has around 40 primary and secondary students. They stay at school during the week and often come back home at weekend. 

The road from Huoi Ha Village to their school in the central area of the commune is around 20 kilometres and it is very slippery when it is rainy. So, it takes children up to five hours to travel through it. They have to go through Nam Chim Stream.

During the dry season, children can cross the stream by a wooden bridge, but during the rainy season from June to October, they usually have to cross the stream by raft or plastic bags. 

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Local people warned of risks for crossing the stream by plastic bags

 

“We have warned local residents of latent risks to travel through the stream by plastic bags, but the swift-flowing water can also sweep rafts away, so they have to choose this way. Earlier, a local person was injured in a capsized raft here,” A Po added.

People in Huoi Ha Village want a bridge linking to the centre area of the commune, this has been proposed to the district; but nothing has been done to improve the situation.

The commune planned to build a road instead but it depends on whether the locality has sufficient funds.

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The road to Huoi Ha Village

 

According to Nguyen Minh Phu, chairman of Muong Cha District, crossing the stream by plastic bags is not a common activity of people in Huoi Ha. They only use this method when the stream is high and unsafe to go by the temporary bridge due to the swift-flowing water.

He also explained that when crossing Nam Chim Stream, children are put into plastic bags and then transported by their parents across the stream.

Phu estimated that it would need VND6 billion (USD272,727) to build the bridge across the Nam Chim Stream, however getting construction materials along the slippery and narrow 12-kilometre road could be difficult. 

So, the road construction should be prioritised, adding that the district hoped to soon get government funding for the project.

Nguyen Minh Quy, a teacher from Huoi Ha Village, admitted that he and some colleagues of him have also used plastic bags to travel through Nam Chim Stream.

Source: Dtinews

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