Official Development Assistance (ODA)
A Small Power Plant in the Mekong Delta

There is a small electric power plant in the town of Can Tho of Mekong Delta in southern Viet Nam. When you visit the town and first see this diminutive dynamo, you may be surprised at its appearance.

This is the Can Tho Thermal Electric Power Generator. The exchange of notes was signed in 1971, and Turbine No. 1 was completed in 1975. The second and third turbines were planned as well, but construction was canceled by the fall of what was then South Vietnam. What remains is the only electric power generating facility in the entire Mekong Delta region.

Following the unification of the North and South Viet Nam, the Vietnamese economy underwent a period of severe stagnation, with inadequate assistance from the West. With goods and resources in short supply, Viet Nam made very careful use of the power station at Can Tho, maintaining it for 20 years without any outside help. Even now, in the midst of chronic power shortages, this little plant alone provides for all the electric power needs of the Mekong Delta region.

Having learned all this, you may take a second look at this little power plant, and then marvel at the industriousness and stout-heartedness of the Vietnamese people.

Photo (ODA loans will help revitalize the Can Tho electric power plant)