Gov't approves more anti-erosion funds for Mekong Delta

By Ngoc Truong   October 9, 2023 | 12:31 am PT
Gov't approves more anti-erosion funds for Mekong Delta
Two houses destroyed by erosion along a river bank in Dong Thap Province in the Mekong Delta, May 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Son
An additional VND4 trillion (US$163.85 million) will be given to localities in the Mekong Delta to help them deal with river and coastal erosion.

Most of the sum, coming from the state budget, will be allocated to the three provinces of Kien Giang, Ca Mau and Vinh Long, with each of them receiving VND500 billion.

Each of Ben Tre, Soc Trang and Bac Lieu provinces will get VND300 billion.

Can Tho City and the three provinces of An Giang, Dong Thap and Long An will get VND250 billion each, and the remaining VND600 billion will be given equally to Tien Giang, Tra Vinh and Hau Giang provinces.

As per the government's decision signed on Sunday, the chairman of each delta's locality must direct related agencies to quickly complete project investment procedures to carry out anti-erosion projects with the given funds by no later than December 31 next year.

To protect the Mekong Delta from erosion and other kinds of environmental degradation, the government has spent nearly $479 million since 2016 building anti-erosion works that stretch 246 km long.

The southern Vietnamese delta now spans over 40,000 and is home to 17.4 million people. It accounts for half of Vietnam's rice output, 65% of its country's aquaculture, and 17% of GDP.

The delta has a waterway network of almost 28,000 km in total, but infrastructure is not a given along its rivers. Besides this, if heavily loaded ships sail frequently, it is a threat to the embankment system and a cause of more erosion.

Since 1992 the region has lost 300-600 hectares of riverine land each year to erosion.

Excessive sand mining is one of the main culprits, but others include industrial-scale agriculture and aquaculture leading to the destruction of vast areas of mangroves, and climate change, according to experts.

As of last year, the delta had 595 eroded spots stretching almost 583 km along rivers and 48 spots running 222 km along the coast.

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