|Waterway vehicles run across the Hong (Red) River. Water levels in the river have risen sharply destroying crops. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuan
HA NOI (VNS) — After hydrologists warned last week that huge discharges of water from Chinese reservoirs upstream would flood the Hong (Red River) in the north, water levels have risen sharply, damaging ships and destroying crops.
The Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper reported that the water discharge caused the river waters flowing through Lao Cai and Yen Bai provinces to rise and damage to crops along the banks.
According to the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting, water levels rose to 30.68m on Monday in Yen Bai Province's Thao River, registering a level 2 in the warning system.
Authorities in Lao Cai Province also reported that river water inundated vast areas of crops and destroyed dozen of metres of canals.
Hoang Duy Dung, deputy head of Lao Cai Province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the water levels in the river were already receding, but officials were calling for measures to be taken to alleviate the damage and prevent it in the future.
Several experts have said that this damage is small but that there should have been better co-ordination to avoid damage.
Dung said Chinese authorities had actually warned Viet Nam about the discharge of water in the river.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was working with the National Resources and Environment Ministry to verify this information, said agricultural deputy minister Hoang Van Thang.
Whatever the case, it seems affected regions were not prepared for the large volume of China's flood waters released 100km from Lao Cai Province. The provincial Hydro Meteorological Centre said the gushing waters raced at a speed of 2,500cu.m per second.
Professor Nguyen Hong Giang, chair of the Viet Nam National Committee on Large Dams and Water Resources Development, said that Viet Nam needed to have more measures, information and co-ordination to handle water discharges from China.
China's activities had also affected other neighbour countries that share the same water system, Giang said.
Deputy minister Thang said Viet Nam shared river systems with many countries in the region and warned them of potential danger from flood and water discharge.
He said this recent instance should be used as a way for the two countries to review co-ordination activities and develop more specific mechanisms in river management.
Co-ordination between border provinces should be better so that countries have enough time to carry out preventative measures, Thang added.
Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper also reported that Viet Nam and China signed an agreement to exchange meteorological information about flood season and water flows. — VNS