Historic drought ravages Vietnam's shrimp farms

By    May 19, 2016 | 06:21 pm GMT+7

The worst drought and saltwater intrusion in almost a century have cost the Southeast Asian country about VND 6.4 trillion ($287 million) in the first four months of this year, according to Vietnam's General Statistics Office, and the historic natural disaster has shown no signs of abating.

The southernmost province of Ca Mau, which accounts for 25 percent of the country’s shrimp production, is the latest victim.

“Farmers are incurring average losses of VND5 million for every hectare of dead shrimp,” said Le Van Su, head of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

He noted that since Ca Mau has more than 52,000 hectares of shrimp farms, the prolonged drought and salinity has cost the province a total of VND260 billion.

Local authorities are concerned that the affected area will double to 100,000 hectares since the drought has shown no signs of abating.

Experts forecast that in the case worst scenario when there is no rain before early next month, the drought, along with falling groundwater levels, will make salinity levels in inland areas jump to 50ppt (50,000 milligrams of salt per liter).

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Ca Mau has more than 52,000 hectares of shrimp farms, and the prolonged drought and salinity has cost the province a total of VND260 billion ($12million). Photo by VnExpress

Earlier this year, Ca Mau declared a state of emergency in response to the drought and saline intrusion after more than 49,000 hectares of rice crops were destroyed.

The worst drought and saline intrusion in Vietnam's south central region, central highlands and southern Mekong Delta has left as many as two million people without access to clean water and 1.1 million in need of food aid, according to a joint rapid assessment undertaken by the Vietnamese government, the United Nations and non-governmental organizations in March.

More than 60,000 women and children are already malnourished, and as many as 1.75 million people have lost their livelihoods as a result of the worsening situation.

Vietnam has appealed to the international community for $48.5 million in emergency aid to address the worsening El Nino drought.

 
 
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