UN backs Vietnam's call for $48.5 mln in aid to combat record drought

By Manh Tung   May 6, 2016 | 05:00 pm GMT+7
UN backs Vietnam's call for $48.5 mln in aid to combat record drought
Deputy General Secretary of the United Nations Jan Eliasson in the press conference this morning. : Manh Tung

The United Nations has said it will call on the international community to pool a $48.5 million aid package following a request from the Vietnamese government for help to combat the worsening drought and saline intrusion.

During a press conference on May 6 in Ho Chi Minh City, Jan Eliasson, deputy general secretary of the UN, said the UN will assume a moderator role in coordinating international organizations' efforts to help Vietnam fight the severe drought and salinity in the south of the country.

Eliasson said these organizations, after being informed of the natural disaster in Vietnam, will provide help in the form of a $48.5 million aid package, which is based on the calculations made by the Vietnamese government.

In addition, the UN has also urged these parties to fund a $3.4 billion assistance bundle to help 20 countries, including Vietnam, to fight climate change. Eliasson said Vietnam should cooperate with other countries in the region to form joint-action programs to limit the impacts of global warming.

"Millions of people are exposed to the risks of drought and salinity due to the use of fertilizers and rising sea levels that are affecting the Mekong River water resources. We must be aware and act now for the future of our children," he said.

Regarding the mass fish deaths in Vietnam's central provinces, Eliasson said the UN is ready to provide analytical support to help find the cause.

Earlier on May 5, Eliasson and Vietnam's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat visited the southern province of Ben Tre - a region that has been severely affected by drought and saltwater intrusion.

During the deputy general secretary's visit to Vietnam from May 3 to 6, Eliasson also discussed the implementation of sustainable development goals and preparations for the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit with government and UN officials.