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3 Jul 2017

Roseanne Gerin, Radio Free Asia

Vietnam: Catholic villages protest against slow and unequal compensation for Formosa Plastics toxic waste spill

"Catholic Villages in Vietnam Protest Lack of Compensation For Formosa Disaster," 03 July 2017

About 1,000 Roman Catholics from a village in... Quang Binh province marched to the local People’s Committee office...to demand compensation for lost livelihoods caused by a toxic waste spill that occurred along the country’s central coast more than a year ago...

The...environmental disaster killed an estimated 115 tons of fish and left fishermen and tourism industry workers jobless.

...Taiwan-owned Formosa Plastics Group acknowledged it was responsible for the release of the chemicals from its massive steel plan...

The company voluntarily paid U.S. $500 million to clean up and compensate those affected by the spill, but the slow and uneven payout of the funds by the Vietnamese government has prompted protests which continue to be held more than a year after the disaster.

Parishioners of Con Nam church are upset because those affected by the disaster in Ha Tinh province have been eligible to receive 17.4 million-35.5 million dong (U.S. $755-$1,541) in compensation, while only four families who live in the five hamlets comprising Quang Minh village have received only 8 million dong (U.S. $347) each.

Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, who is overseeing the government’s compensation process... told the media in June that all payments would be issued by the end of that month.

Thugs hired by local police have beaten Catholics in other parishes... and vandals believed to be paid by local authorities have damaged church property in retaliation for their protests over the handling of the payouts.

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