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Central Highlands: As floods recede, food shortage concerns surface

By Khanh Huong, Tran Hoa, Quoc Dung   August 13, 2019 | 05:36 pm PT
Central Highlands: As floods recede, food shortage concerns surface
Trash from the Cam Ly Landfill fall down a hill in Da Lat Town, Lam Dong Province, August 13, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Khanh Huong.
Large scale damage caused by flooding in the Central Highlands has given rise to food shortage and pricing concerns.

The region has been hit hard by heavy rains, floods, landslides and other impacts for more than a week.

Several greenhouses in Lam Dong Province’s Da Lat, a premier grower of flowers and vegetables, were buried after thousands of cubic meters of trash from the Cam Ly Landfill, about five kilometers away from the city center, tumbled down from a hill, on Tuesday.

Blackish and foul-smelling water followed the garbage’s trails downhill, potentially polluting the city’s water sources.

53-year-old Le Thi Hoi said almost 2,000 square meters of her family’s hydrangea garden were buried by the trash.

"It is our family’s only source of income," she said.

The total area and value of crops damaged following the incident have not been finalized.

In Dak Lak Province, about 170 kilometers to the north of Da Lat, a section of the Quang Dien embankment in Krong Ana District was broken Tuesday, causing water from the nearby Krong Ana river to submerge over 1,000 hectares of rice that were about to be harvested, said Nguyen Minh Dong, deputy chairman of Krong Ana People’s Committee.

A section of the Quang Dien embankment in the Central Highlands Dak Lak Province breaks August 13, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Tran Hoa

A section of the Quang Dien embankment in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak was breached on August 13, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Tran Hoa.

Damage to crops and other plants in Da Lat and other Central Highlands provinces are expected to cause vegetable prices to increase, as the region is the main supplier of vegetables for southern Vietnam.

The region also produces most of Vietnam's coffee, a major export item.

Hanh, a vegetable grower in Da Lat, said that the prices of some vegetables and flowers have already doubled after heavy rains and floods hit the region.

Nguyen Lam Son, who owns a vegetable farm, said three out of his 20 hectares of vegetables in Suoi Can of Lac Duong District were swept away by flood caused by heavy rains. A vegetable shortage in the near future will be "hard to avoid," he said.

The Central Highlands and several southern provinces were subjected to heavy downpours from August 6-10, causing flooding in several areas. At least 11 people died, over 12,000 houses flooded, tens of thousands of hectares of crops damaged, and many heads of cattle, poultry and fish swept away.

Total damage thus far has been estimated at more than VND1 trillion ($43.5 million).

Da Lat, also a popular travel destination in Vietnam, saw a dozen or so houses flooded, 20 hectares of crops and 3,000 square meters of greenhouses damaged.

Successive years of late have seen natural disasters, mostly floods, storms and landslides wreak havoc on different regions in the country.

Last year, they left 181 people dead, 37 others missing and caused losses of around VND20 trillion ($858 million).

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