Residents of apartment in Saigon's backpacker street stand firm as city warns of collapse

Residents of apartment in Saigon's backpacker street stand firm as city warns of collapse

A foreigner walks past 155-157 Bui Vien in Pham Ngu Lau Ward. This week, construction officials declared the frame of the six-story building unsound and warned that it could collapse at any time. It remains unclear what the city would do with the land where the building to be demolished.


Residents of apartment in Saigon's backpacker street stand firm as city warns of collapse

Many houses lack a balcony, so people hang laundry in the central air shaft.


Residents of apartment in Saigon's backpacker street stand firm as city warns of collapse

Residents have covered windows with scrap wood and plastic tarps to create privacy.


Residents of apartment in Saigon's backpacker street stand firm as city warns of collapse

Apartments here are between 20 and 60 square meters; most lack proper ventillation. A few families addressed the situation by knocking extra windows into the walls.


Residents of apartment in Saigon's backpacker street stand firm as city warns of collapse

Luu Thi Hanh has shared her apartment with three family members for nearly 40 years. “It's not very spacious and it’s getting old, but we cannot afford a new place yet,” Hanh said, adding that most of her fellow tenants own their apartments and are too poor to buy anything in the surrounding vicinity. 


Residents of apartment in Saigon's backpacker street stand firm as city warns of collapse

Electric wires hang loosely in the stairway. Residents say the wiring has never caused a fire, but it does not make them feel particularly safe.


Residents of apartment in Saigon's backpacker street stand firm as city warns of collapse

A woman dries her laundry on electrical wiring that runs along the rooftop.


Residents of apartment in Saigon's backpacker street stand firm as city warns of collapse

Although life hasn't been perfect, many residents believe the building is structurally sound. Rather than be forced to relocate, they wish the city would repair the leaky ceiling and tidy up the building's wiring.


Residents of apartment in Saigon's backpacker street stand firm as city warns of collapse

The central stairwell still looks fine to many people.


Residents of apartment in Saigon's backpacker street stand firm as city warns of collapse

The building manager believes there's nothing wrong with the building and worries that the relocation plan will disrupt the residents' lives.


Photos by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen

En Vnexpress

Advertise