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23 August 2009

Vietnam: Mekong delta provinces face climate change impacts

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Provinces in Vietnam’s Mekong delta have no coherent plan to tackle the impacts of climate change although they will suffer the most from ensuing natural disasters, Vietnamese website Thanhnien news reported.

As a low-lying area with a big population, experts have predicted the delta will be among the hardest hit by climate change.

Natural disasters last year left 134 dead and missing in the delta, damaged more than 5,300 houses, 30,474 hectares of rice fields and 11,265 hectares of fish and shrimp farms. Forty-six fishing boats were sunk and 92 others damaged.

Landslides caused the erosion of 100 hectares of land, knocked down 40 houses and forced 700 families to move.

Authorities are looking for places to move thousands of threatened houses in the coming years. The Central Hydrometeorology Forecast Center has warned of abnormal weather during this year’s storm season, which kicked off earlier than usual in late April.

The storms and land erosion along river banks so far signal a harsh season, the center said. Changes in weather patterns in the Mekong Delta have confirmed forecasts about climate change.

Increasing salinity has threatened Can Tho, once considered safe from natural disasters, since April 2004, said Ky Quang Vinh, director of the Environment Observation Center of the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

High tides on the Hau River in Can Tho have risen by four centimeters every year from 2004 to 2007, according to the city’s Steering Committee for Fighting Natural Disasters.

The committee said the entire city might be submerged in 2030 when the river rises a further 0.8-1 meter.

Around 10 storms and low tropical pressures are forecast to develop in the East Sea this year, and six or seven of them will directly affect Vietnam.


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