Riverside erosion sinks eight Mekong Delta houses

By Hoang Hanh   June 10, 2019 | 05:11 pm PT
Riverside erosion sinks eight Mekong Delta houses
Soldiers help a man in Ca Mau Province retrieve belongings after his house collapsed on Monday. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Hanh.
Eight houses along the Nam Can River were washed away Monday by land erosion, which seriously threatens the Mekong Delta.

In the early hours on Monday, dozens of residents in Nam Can Town in the southernmost province of Ca Mau were sleeping when they were woken up by loud cracks. Screaming, they removed as much of their belongings from their houses as they could. Soon after their houses collapsed into the river.

"After the cracks, I saw the wall torn apart and called my wife and children to wake up, and beat the doors of my neighbors," said Huynh Minh Chanh, who lost his house.

Pham Truong Giang, chairman of Nam Can Town, said no cases of death or injuries have been reported but many belongings of local residents were washed away. He estimated the damage caused at around VND1 billion ($43,000).

Giang said the changes in the river flow were to blame for the erosion that has been happening for a long time now. Another 100 houses are at risk of collapsing or being washed away, he added.

Land erosion has become a frequent occurrence in many coastal and riverine provinces 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.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Mekong Delta is losing 500 hectares of land to sea and river erosion every year.

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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