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Erosion hits Mekong hard in dry season

Update: May, 18/2015 - 09:54
Hau Giang Province's Chau Thanh District is one of the delta's hardest-hit areas.— Photo vov

HCM CITY (VNS) — Soil erosion caused mainly by lower levels of water in rivers and canals in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta has damaged houses, fruit orchards and construction works.

Hau Giang Province's Chau Thanh District is one of the delta's hardest-hit areas.

Tran Quang Hanh, head of the district's Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said this year serious erosion had occurred during the dry season. Soil erosion usually appears during the rainy reason.

The district has had 15 erosion cases along rivers and canals in the first four months of the year. Erosion is 10-34 metres long and 2 – 9 metres wide, he said.

Erosion has caused damage to land, vegetable, fruit and roads at an estimated VND343 million (US$16,300).

On April 23, an eroded road section 35 metres long and six metres wide in Phu Huu Commune's Phu Loi Hamlet fell into the river.

Tran Thi Hong, whose house is located near the road section, said erosion had occurred seriously twice this year in the area.

Chau Thanh District is located at the Hau River, a tribute of the Mekong, and in the dry season the river level is low, and boats and barges often travel on the river, causing erosion.

Boats and barges on the river cause water to wash up on riverbanks and create holes in the banks. The vault-like entrances can lead to erosion.

Hanh said the district has told households in erosion-prone areas to move their houses to safe areas.

Every year, the district relocates houses in erosion-prone areas to residential resettlement areas or provides each household VND20 million ($950) to move to safe areas, he said.

Le Phuoc Dai, head of the Hau Giang Irrigation Sub-department, said the strong flow of rivers and weak soil foundation were the major reasons of erosion.

In Dong Thap Province, 40 communes and wards have erosion-prone areas with a total length of up to 30km, according to the province's statistics.

In March 10, erosion occurred on a 150-meter dyke section in Chau Thanh District's An Hiep Commune. The erosion entered 70 meters inland.

The erosion caused four houses and more than 1.1ha of land to fall into the Tien River.

Later, erosion occurred again at this section, causing 1ha of land to collapse into the river.

Nguyen Van Duong, chairman of the Dong Thap People's Committee, has declared an erosion emergency at the Tien River in An Hiep Commune.

The Dong Thap People's Committee has asked the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and local authorities to identify the belt of erosion areas, set up warning boards at erosion-prone areas, and move households and production establishments out of erosion-prone areas.

In Can Tho, a 40-metre section of the Can Tho River dyke in Cai Rang District's Hung Thanh Commune was damaged by erosion on March 23.

Le Anh Tuan of the Can Tho University's Climate Change Research Institute said this year the dry season came earlier, causing the level of rivers to be lower than in previous years. Land along riverbanks began to erode as a result.

He said that Delta provinces should build construction works far from riverbanks.

Trees that help to protect land from erosion such as nipa trees and mangroves should be grown along rivers and coastal areas, he said.

In river areas where there is serious erosion, warning boards should be set up to warn boats to reduce their speed, he said. — VNS

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