As the tides rise with Vietnam’s flooding, how did we get here?

Arturas Balynas was driving through Quan Nam last week when he witnessed entire villages plunged into darkness, with power cables and trees lying in the road. An English teacher in Bien Hoa, Balynas was volunteering to help communities in Vietnam’s central region, hitting the main stops where October’s cyclones and floods have been tearing roofs off some houses, and completely washing others away. “We went to see one house where there was an old woman. She was 85 years old and living on her ow

Vietnam floods and landslides displace 90,000 people as new cyclone nears

Floods and landslides in Vietnam are reported to have left at least 102 people dead or missing, while tens of thousands of people have lost their homes to rising water. Two storms that hit central Vietnam in the first two weeks of October, Storm Linfa and Storm Nangka, brought six times higher than average rainfall, flooding 136,000 houses and forcing 90,000 people to evacuate their homes. A third cyclone is expected to hit the coast in the coming days. Worst hit is Hue province, some 700km (4

Vietnam's long and winding road to plastic waste reduction

Throw-away plastic is bountiful in Vietnam. It’s in the rainbow of plastic bags used in the nation’s markets. It’s in the carts of waste pickers and the craft villages set up for recycling. And even when it’s going unseen, it’s being carelessly discarded in lakes, waterways, roads, everywhere and anywhere it can be thrown. Vietnam produces about 13 million tonnes of waste each year, roughly the equivalent of the Great Pyramid of Giza – twice-over. Vietnam is also one of the five Southeast Asian

The black rolling hills of Hanoi's bursting Nam Son trash site

You smell it before you see it. Black tarpaulin stretched over a mountain of solid waste, cranes and trucks moving endlessly over untreated trash, and smoke billowing from behind banana trees. This is Nam Son, Hanoi’s biggest landfill site, sitting alongside a village that 2,000 families still call home. The Vietnamese capital produces around 6,500 tonnes of trash per day. Around 5,000 tonnes of that – a weight equivalent to around 4,000 cars – is collected and shipped off up to the Nam Son, ju

How colonial prisons gave life to a communist revolution in Vietnam

As a look back in history for the 75th anniversary of Vietnamese independence, the Globe reflects on how prisons became a symbol for colonial oppression, a breeding ground for communism, and ultimately gave life to the 1945 August Revolution There’s a prison at the heart of every story of Vietnam’s revolution. They’re in every memoir of Communist Party leaders, and eventually every school curriculum in the country. For former prisons like Hoa Lo in the centre of Hanoi, they became symbols of Vi

Hanoi's growing homeless population struggle with lockdown measures

For people living on the capital's streets, Vietnam's Covid-19 lockdown has made basic survival even more difficult. Now, as the country rides a second wave of infections, vulnerable people and their advocates are holding tight to what they have Vietnam has a no-nonsense approach to Covid-19. Security guards don’t need to ask customers twice to wear a mask, and the wrong cough could see a house, street or city in lockdown. But as doors shut, some are being left out in the blazing heat without

Ban or bluster: What does Vietnam’s directive mean for the wildlife trade?

A new directive further tightening restrictions on Vietnam's wildlife trade was met with much fanfare last week. But from vague wording to lax enforcement, some conservationists have their doubts about how much impact it will have Last week, Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued what has been widely heralded as a much-needed ban on the wildlife trade in the country. Some rules rehash old ground, while others seem to represent genuine progress. The 12-point document, issued on 23 Ju

Shut your traps: Snares empty forests in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam

Following the release of a report late last week highlighting the devastating impact of snares on wildlife across Southeast Asia, the World Wildlife Fund has called on governments in the region to up their efforts to catch and punish perpetrators Following the release of a report last week highlighting the devastating impact of snares on wildlife across Southeast Asia, the World Wildlife Fund has called on governments in the region to up their efforts to catch and punish perpetrators By Ashley

Stefano Boeri and the Flying Gardeners

Every four months, arborists and botanists will rappel down from the roofs of Milan’s Bosco Verticale, cutting and pruning, jumping between balconies and being offered cups of coffee as they descend toward the ground. These workers have been referred to as ‘The Flying Gardeners’, and their work scales buildings that almost resemble M.C. Escher paintings, with oblong balconies that jut from the side of canopy-covered façades, and trees that survive on minuscule amounts of space.

Cracks widen during virus for Vietnam’s most vulnerable – trafficked women

Every year, thousands of Vietnamese women leave their homes to venture across the border to China in search of hard, laborious work. For people from minority cultures, like Hmong, Nung and Muong, living deep in the mountains doesn’t provide jobs with enough income to support their families, and they’re often forced to find money elsewhere. Many will be gone for months on end, working long days in succession with little rest, wilting over a hot sewing machine.