Devastating floods are becoming the norm for Vietnam

By Ha Phuong   November 11, 2016 | 12:45 am PT
Bad news: Severe weather conditions seen this year may just be the beginning of a gloomy future.

Vietnam is now suffering from even more adverse weather events than ever before. Earlier this year, within months, the country went from the coldest winter in history in the north, to the most severe drought in a century in the central and southern regions.

Then came consecutive downpours that caused severe floods in many parts of the country, with central provinces along the coast hit the hardest.

Climate change has been blamed for these extraordinary events and many warn that they can become more common, or even become the norm.

How floods affect Vietnam

Vietnam is among countries most exposed to floods, only after Bangladesh, India and China. Around 10 percent of Vietnamese population are affected by floods every year.

It is estimated that 2.3 percent of the country's total income is wiped out by floods.

Globally, approximately 21 million people are affected by floods each year. The number could increase to 54 million in 2030.

Asian countries are most vulnerable to downpours and floods

The darker the color, the worse the situation is.

Water is rising

Rainfall in monsoon seasons tends to increase, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

As such, by the end of the century, the average maximum rainfall will increase by over 20 percent in the south compared to recent baseline.

By 2030, even in the most favorable scenario for low carbon emissions, Vietnam may face a loss of $20.8 billion in gross domestic product, eight times higher than the loss now if no flood protection is implemented. Floods will have negative impacts on at least 2.6 million Vietnamese per year, as estimated by the Aqueduct Global Flood Analyzer.

In a worse scenario, if Vietnam doesn't have effective mitigation efforts or greenhouse gas emissions remain high, there will be at least a $26 billion loss in GDP, and 3.6 million people will be affected.

Want even more gloomy forecasts? By the end of the century, the ancient town of Hoi An could be swallowed by floods. Nearly half of the Mekong could also disappear.

This year's floods in central Vietnam have been considered the worst in history, with Quang Binh Province suffering the most.

More people are affected by floods than by any other type of natural disaster.

In October alone, floods killed 43 people, accounting for a third of total deaths caused by all natural disasters in the first 10 months, according to data from the General Statistics Office.

Related news:

> Floods claim 15 lives in central Vietnam

> Tropical depression forms at sea as floods continue to ravage central Vietnam

> 8 dead, 2 missing as floods continue to rage in central Vietnam

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