Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mekong Delta faces long floods

Viet Nam News: Thirty-eight per cent of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta could be under water for six to eight months each year by 2020 as the climate changes, warns deputy Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Dao Xuan Hoc. Ministry measurements showed the sea could inundate 90 per cent of the delta with about 8.5 million local residents driven from their homes, he told a high-ranking conference, a response to climate change, in HCM City last week.

The Mekong was one of the world's three deltas most vulnerable to climate with 93 per cent of the 840-kilometre coast below sea level, said the deputy minister. Sea water had already encroached land; caused difficulties for flood discharge and prolonged droughts. Hydropower dams also affected water flow and reduced alluvia in river-beds.

The deputy minister said climate change was responsible for the high tides in HCM City and the sea encroaching southern Ben Tre, Ca Mau and Soc Trang provinces. The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry had forecast that about 70 per cent of the delta could be inundated and 2 million hectares of rice crop threatened if the sea rose one metre. The deputy minister argued for the building of more dykes and the planting of more trees to mitigate against climate change.

Former Dutch Water Resources Minister said Professor Cees Veerman said the private sector could play an important role in reducing the damage. The Viet Nam Government, scientists, academics and domestic and international specialists as well as business should co-operate to provide an effective response, he said….

The Mekong Delta from space, via NASA

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