Half of Mekong Delta permanently submerged with 100cm sea level rise

By Minh Nga   January 22, 2022 | 01:00 am PT
Half of Mekong Delta permanently submerged with 100cm sea level rise
A sea dike section in Van Khanh Tay Commune in An Minh District of Kien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta is eroded in 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Vu
The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has painted a dire picture for the Mekong Delta, saying half of it will go under water if the sea level rises by 100cm.

The "2020 version of the climate change scenario" report released this week by the ministry specifies that a 100 cm rise in the sea level could leave 47.29 percent of the Mekong Delta permanently flooded.

Corresponding ratios for the Red River Delta, home to Hanoi and the northern port city of Hai Phong, is predicted at 13.2 percent; 17.15 percent for Ho Chi Minh City; and 1.53 percent for the central coastal region.

The report says that by 2050, the sea level in the East Sea, known internationally as the South China Sea, will rise 24-28 cm by 2050 and to 56-77 cm by 2,100.

Vietnam's coastal average sea level rise is likely to be higher than the global average, and the rise in coastal areas of the southern provinces will be higher than in the north, the report says.

The annual average temperature will tend to increase nationwide in the 21st century, with the northern region experiencing the highest increase and islands the lowest.

Spreading over 40,577 square kilometers (15,670 square miles), the Mekong Delta is possibly the lowest delta in the world. For decades, it has been Vietnam’s rice bowl and aquaculture hub, meeting not only the country's food demand but also serving exports in a big way.

Many studies in recent years have warned that the delta, home to 20 million people, is sinking and might disappear within the course of a century.

But latest studies show that the disappearance could come sooner than thought.

In 2019, Climate Central, a U.S.-based a nonprofit news organization that analyzes and reports on climate science, revealed a shocking finding which said most of southern Vietnam, including the Mekong Delta and the nation's economic hub, Ho Chi Minh City, could be flooded by 2050.

Sea level would increase by one meter by 2100, and would potentially flood about 18 percent of HCMC and 39 percent of the Mekong Delta, it said.

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