|"Erosion has hit 265 places along the delta's rivers and estuaries. The total length of collapsed riverbanks is 450km," — Illustrative image/ Photo vietnamnet
HA NOI (VNS) — Erosion in many places in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta has claimed about 500 hectares of land as authorities struggle to find effective answers.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, sea water intrudes about 30-40m into coastal land in the region. Erosion occurs in 20 places along a 200km stretch of coastline.
Places reporting severe erosion include Binh Dai and Thanh Phu districts in Ben Tre Province, and in Hiep Thanh and Dan Thanh districts in Tra Vinh Provinces.
Tang Quoc Chinh from the ministry's Irrigation Department said erosion had also occurred along riverbanks in the delta.
"Erosion has hit 265 places along the delta's rivers and estuaries. The total length of collapsed riverbanks is 450km," he said.
Chinh told a conference on the issue on Saturday in Soc Trang Province that the erosion was mainly caused by the construction of irrigation and hydropower reservoirs along the upper parts of the Mekong river, which had changed the flow of water.
He also said that over-exploitation of underground water and climate change impacts were among the causes.
The erosion has affected cultivation and the lives of millions of residents living in the coast and along the eroded rivers.
Christian Henckes of the German International Co-operation Agency (GIZ) suggested that agencies should take prompt action to deal with the problems.
He said preventive forest plantations, construction of sea walls and river embankment should be carried out.
The delta supplies nearly 90 per cent of rice for Viet Nam, one of the world's leading rice exporters.
Deputy Minister Hoang Van Thang agreed with Henckes, saying the delta needed an integrated approach to deal with the problems.
Erosion and sea water intrusion are expected to become more severe. Experts forecast that 39 per cent of the delta area will be under 30m under sea water in 2100 because of climate change. — VNS