Thanh Hóa coastal village witnesses increasing erosion

November 10, 2022 - 10:07
Residents at Tân Xuân Village recalled how several houses collapsed into the sea, and those families had to move further inland.
Erosion is a major concern along the coast in Tân Xuân Village, Thanh Hóa Province. — Photo VNA/VNS Photo

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THANH HÓA — Along the coast in Tân Xuân Village are the remains of houses dragged down by the waves.

Here, coastal erosion is a major concern.

Local resident Nguyễn Văn Đượng lives just a few metres from the water’s edge, where significant coastal erosion is recorded.

The area next to his house, once a casuarina forest blocking the waves, is now littered with garbage and wood floating in from the sea.

A fisherman who has spent more than half of his life in the water, Đượng could not hide the worry on his face as the sea “swallows” his village.

He told Nông nghiệp (Agriculture) newspaper: “In the past, the shore measured a few hundred metres wide, so we fishermen had a place to dig for clams and catch some fish. But in recent years, the sea keeps inching in, encroaching on all the land.

“We don’t know what will happen to this place tomorrow if the sea keeps creeping into the land. I have never seen such serious shoreline change as right now.”

Bùi Thị Hương, Đượng’s wife said: “Coastal people like us quite understand the cycle of the water level, at times the waves would bring accretion and other times erosion.

“A few years back, the shoreline advances significantly and the waves don’t bring in as much sediment as before.”

Other residents at Tân Xuân Village recalled how 10 years ago, several houses collapsed into the sea, and those families had to move further inland.

Many people also want to move away, but they don’t have the financial means to do so.

Nguyễn Thị Kim, a local resident said: “Tân Xuân villagers really hope that the authorities come up with solutions to mitigate these issues for the stability of people’s lives and peace of mind.”

According to the People’s Committee of Hoằng Phụ Commune where Tân Xuân Village is located, due to high tides and rapid waves, the area between the shoreline and Mã River that runs through the locality witnessed serious erosion recently, especially during June and July this year.

Three households have lost their homes due to the serious erosion over a total area of about 1,000sq.m, while Lạch Hới Border Guard station was also affected.

The phenomenon is ongoing with some places witness erosion of 150-metre-wide from the water’s edge into the shore.

Nguyễn Thanh Bình, chairman of Hoằng Phụ People’s Committee said: “This situation is now beyond the local capacity. We have reported to the higher authorities and requested solutions to this matter.

“To stabilise people’s lives, it is necessary to put in place infrastructure that prevents erosion.”

Tân Xuân villagers added that in addition to the natural causes, this erosion could be the result of sand mining at Lạch Hới Estuary, and for a major construction project years ago, which might have caused changes in the flow and coastal land.

Bùi Thị Hương said: “They used modern equipment so the machine is really quiet, making it hard to detect and prevent this act. When the residents found out about the sand-mining boats, they had already disappeared.”

Captain Nguyễn Đình Hoàn – chief of Lạch Hới Border Guard station said that there was an illegal case of sand mining at the beginning of this year, but it was not at the flow at Lạch Hới Estuary, so it was difficult to say that sand mining was the cause for this erosion.

Meanwhile, Phạm Văn Hoành, deputy director of Thanh Hóa Provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment said that a scientific assessment was required to determine the cause of this phenomenon.

He said: “Regarding geology, this place was called ‘Hải Tiến’ long ago, back in the French colonial time, which means ‘the advancing sea’. Today, the sea continues to rise, but at a slower rate, which makes it hard to detect.

“We will continue to consult the province and host a conference with scientists to assess the geological structure of the area.

“In the long term, a breakwater is needed to ensure safety in this location.”

After the visit to the site, the deputy chairman of Thanh Hóa Provincial People’s Committee Lê Đức Giang said that the situation was quite serious.

“The erosion occurs at the ecosystem where the river meets the sea, negatively affecting the people’s lives and livelihoods,” he added.

An emergency situation is expected to be declared, with signage soon to be set up to prevent locals and tourists from going to the areas at risk of erosion. — VNS