New Zealand to give Mekong province $50,000 to battle historic drought

By Lam Le   April 29, 2016 | 04:51 pm GMT+7

The New Zealand Embassy announced today it will donate $50,000 to communities affected by drought and saltwater intrusion in Ben Tre province.

The emergency relief will target people in the 15 worst affected communes in Binh Dai, Ba Tri, and Thanh Phu districts.

Up to 6,000 cow and goat farmers in these three districts will receive cash grants to buy food and water for their animals, which they depend on for their livelihoods.

The assistance will be provided through an ongoing $4.0 million New Zealand government-funded project called Building Resilience to Disaster and Climate Risks of Men and Women in Ben Tre Province that is being implemented by Oxfam in Vietnam.

New Zealand Ambassador to Vietnam H.E Haike Manning, said: “We recognize the serious impact that the drought and saltwater intrusion is having on communities in southern and central provinces of Viet Nam. This assistance is a modest, but practical contribution to the communities we are already working with through our existing project, and is an example of New Zealand’s ongoing commitment to supporting vulnerable communities across Vietnam.”

“New Zealand will continue sharing its experience and working closely with our partners, such as Oxfam, to assist local communities to deal with drought and saltwater intrusion and the effects of climate change in the Mekong Delta region.”

Oxfam Country Director Babeth Lefur said the drought and saltwater intrusion have affected hundreds of thousands of families, most of whom are already living under the poverty line.

Vietnam is faced with the worst drought in almost a century, according to the United Nation, which has seriously affected about two million people living in the southern and central regions of the country.

A joint rapid assessment carried out by the Vietnamese government, the UN and non-governmental organizations in March estimated that in the 18 most severely affected provinces in the country, as many as two million people have no access to clean water and 1.1 million are in need of food aid.

In the southern Mekong Delta, the prolonged drought, accompanied by a decrease in groundwater levels, has resulted in the most extensive saltwater intrusion in 90 years.