How Tan Hoa Lives Through the Floods

This remote village in central Vietnam survives natural disasters year after year

By Quang Binh Tourism Department

More than 600 houses in Tan Hoa Commune by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

The story of the floating houses

Tan Hoa is a remote village in the Central Vietnam, which is located around 70km away from the ‘Adventure capital of Asia’, the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, and is home to one of the most amazing cave systems in the world that attracts explorers from all over the world. Back in 2014, Tan Hoa was just a remote village in a deprived region of Central Vietnam. It was also a majorly flood prone area that suffered natural disasters year after year.

The marker shows the chronicle of flood at 9.57 meter high in 2007 by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

The marker shows the chronicle of flood at 9.57 meter high in 2007. Historical floods that shook the country have always been a nightmare for the local people here; they drowned out houses, swept away all the fields, crops and everything that the locals ever owned.

Public shelter for Tan Hoa people before the existence of floating houses by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

This house was used as a common shelter for the villagers before the construction of floating houses. It was located on the mountain about 20 meters off the ground.

Floating house for flooding season by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

Oxalis Adventure, an adventure tour operator based in Phong Nha - Ke Bang, came up with the idea of building small houses that would help the Tan Hoa locals protect themselves and their belongings in the event of a harsh flood. These small houses offer comfortable shelter and are often built next to or relatively close to the locals’ individual houses for convenience, as at the time flooding, time plays a very crucial role.

Oxalis Adventure sends the designs of the houses to the machinists and helps them in discerning the size required. In terms of building materials; Oxalis uses inox for frame and heat insulation tole for covers and roofs.

Floating platform is made from metal barrels by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

Empty barrels are ordered from Ba Don or Dong Hoi and are properly attached underneath the house to allow floatation in the event of a flood. The house also has two poles set on both sides, which keep it in place during the shake and break that a flood may cause

Floating houses located next to the regular houses by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

Out of flooding season, floating house, next to ordinary house, is used as storage

Tan Hoa floating house by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

When flooding season is coming close, people move stuff into the floating house

Typical ordinary house together with floating house in Tan Hoa Commune by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

Typical ordinary house together with floating house in Tan Hoa Commune

Cattle barns in Tan Hoa by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

Animals also have their own house located in higher area, at the foot of the mountain

Cattle barns in Tan Hoa, Quang Binh by Tran Tuan VietQuang Binh Tourism Department

Having a specialized common area to house farm animals is also a unique feature of the Tan Hoa Commune.

Credits: Story

Photography: Tran Tuan Viet

Credits: All media
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