Historic drought costs Vietnam $400 million

By , Bui Hong NhungMay 10, 2016 | 01:09 am PT
Historic drought costs Vietnam $400 million
Photo by Vietnam News Agency.
The most severe drought in almost a century has cost Vietnam an estimated VND8.9 trillion ($400 million), according to the Central Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention.

The prolonged drought caused by El Nino has had devastating consequences for hundreds of thousands of plantations as well as the lives of two million people in the southern and central regions of the country.

It is estimated that more than 400,000 families are lacking clean water, and about 250,000 hectares of rice, 130,000 hectares of industrial crops and 30,000 hectares of fruit have been destroyed by the drought.

The southern Mekong Delta region, which accounts for half of the country’s rice output, has lost 225,000 hectares of rice. Another 23,000 hectares has been left unplanted in central coastal provinces, and should the drought continue, that figure could reach as much as 57,100 hectares.

The prolonged drought, accompanied by falling groundwater levels, has resulted in the most extensive saltwater intrusion in 90 years in the Mekong Delta. In addition, water reserves in the Central Highlands and other southern provinces are only at 30 percent capacity.

For the first time the country has called on the international community to support a $48.5 million emergency response plan to address the worsening drought.

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