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Erosion, salt water decimate homes

Update: September, 07/2015 - 09:15
Erosion threatens life and production of people in Go Cong Dong District, Tien Giang Province. Destruction of coastal protective forests was one of the major causes of the erosion of sea dikes. — Photo tinmoitruong.vn

TIEN GIANG (VNS) — Nguyen Van Nghe, beyond any doubts, saw his house swept away by rising sea waters.

"When I woke up one morning two weeks ago, I was shocked to see the two-storey cement house disappearing," the 45-year-old fisherman, father of three, said. "Some pieces of enamel tile and a concrete-pillar remain. We are lucky that all family members survived," he smiled.

Nghe's family was among tens of households in Tan Long Commune of Go Cong Dong District, the Delta province of Tien Giang, where houses were swept away by flooding sea waters.

"It had suddenly worsened overnight, taking away our shelters," a neighbour of Nghe said.

Doan Thanh Hung, chairman of Tan Long Commune People's Committee, said 47 households need to be relocated to safer locations.

Sparse forests provide little shelter for the threatening sea-dike system that protects 50,000ha of cultivated land and 300,000 households in Go Cong Dong District.

Hung said the annual north-eastern monsoon and high sea-tide caused 3,000m-long coastal erosion at two villages in Tan Long Commune. Erosion has occurred as far as 20-30m inland.

Further, salt water has destroyed fishing ponds and houses.

Meanwhile, a local fisherman, Co Van Hoa, said poor local fishermen have to depend on coastal production, despite the dangers of sea water erosion.

"My house was damaged by saline intrusion two weeks ago. But my family is still here," Hoa said.

Deputy chairwoman of Go Cong Dong District's People's Committee Huynh Thi To said coastal erosion makes life precarious in this area.

However, there are no solutions for sea-dike erosion, she said.

Tien Giang Province's Agriculture and Rural Development Department reported shelter forests in coastal areas have been seriously eroded over the last 10 years.

Erosion has occurred as far as 8-10m inland every year at several spots.

Worse, at some locations shelter forests have been completely lost.

The sea-dike is likely to collapse at any time, especially in the rainy season, warned the deputy chairwoman.

Long-term solution

To prevent saline intrusion and coastal erosion, the province has set up a VND600 billion (US$28 million) project to build a 18.4km-long dike and coastal protective forests.

The money has come from a French Government loan and the Vietnamese Government budget.

Tien Giang Province spends tens of billion dong every year for upgrading local dike systems.

However, the Go Cong Dong District People's Committee deputy chairwoman said the destruction of coastal protective forests was one of the major causes of the erosion of sea dikes.

"Erosion will worsen if no measures are taken to recover and develop coastal mangrove forests outside dikes," she warned. — VNS

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