Termites threaten Hoi An historical city

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By Lan Huong March 31, 2021 | 17:45 GMT + 7

Termite damage has caused many old houses in downtown Hoi An to be damaged. Photo by VnExpress / Ha Thanh.

Hundreds of relics were severely damaged by termites in Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, following the social distancing from Covid-19 last year.

A survey by local authorities of nearly 800 relics found that over 260 old houses in Minh An, Cam Pho, and Son Phong parishes had suffered severe termite damage to their pillars, trusses, doors, walls, ceilings, wooden floors, and membranes.

Pham Phu Ngoc, director of the Hoi An Center for Heritage Management and Conservation, said Tuesday that the situation poses a major security risk as most of Hoi An’s relics are made of wood.

Moisture caused by closings during social distancing for several months over the past year and a series of storms and floods created ideal conditions for termites to thrive.

Early signs of termite activity are difficult to spot as they penetrate from the ground up and cause damage within a structure, Ngoc said.

“Termites are one of the reasons relics are rapidly being dismantled. Measures against pests in Hoi An have been approved by the People’s Council to eradicate termite nests and prevent their return or possible spread,” he added.

From 2010 to 2012, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Quang Nam Province, together with the Hoi An Center for Management and Conservation of Cultural Heritage and the Institute for Ecology and Occupational Safety, coordinated a termite prevention project that was subsequently hampered by persistent flooding.