Mekong Delta province issues emergency warning over coastal erosion

By Hoang Hanh   August 7, 2019 | 06:26 pm GMT+7
Mekong Delta province issues emergency warning over coastal erosion
Work to repair an eroded section of the coast in the Mekong Delta's Ca Mau Province, August 3, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Hanh.

Severe erosion of a sea section prompted authorities in Ca Mau Province to issue an emergency warning on Tuesday.

A 350m-long section of an embankment on the western coast in the southernmost province’s Tran Van Thoi District was eroded following heavy rains, strong winds, waves and high tides over the last few days, said To Quoc Nam, deputy chief of the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The rains and winds also caused 91 houses in Ca Mau to collapse and damaged 470 others. High tides last Saturday also flooded over 1,800 houses and total property damage is estimated at over VND28 billion ($1.2 million).

"The eroded section has been repaired, securing the lives and properties for tens of thousands of families," Nam said, adding that about 100 people have been deployed to monitor the bank round the clock.

Ca Mau Chairman Nguyen Tien Hai said they were worried about further damage if the weather doesn’t improve in the coming days, as over two kilometers of the embankment was still vulnerable to erosion and collapse.

The western coast embankment in Ca Mau protects the two districts U Minh and Tran Van Thoi from saline intrusion. Tens of thousands of hectares of paddy fields in the region could be lost if it collapses, affecting tens of thousands of families in the region.

Land erosion has become a frequent occurrence in many coastal and riverine provinces in Vietnam over the last decade, claiming hundreds of houses. It has become a particularly acute problem in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam's food basket, which grows half of its rice output and supplies 90 percent of the country's annual grain exports.

Climate change, sand exploitation and dam construction upstream the Mekong, which affects the river flow, are among the causes, officials said.

The delta is losing 500 hectares of land to sea and river erosion every year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

It is estimated that by 2050, the lives of one million people in the delta will be directly affected by this catastrophe.

The Ministry of Construction last year submitted a proposal to build concrete barriers for protecting 44,800 families in the region from serious river erosion.

 
 
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