Rain, waves and rising seas erode Hội An beaches

November 17, 2017 - 09:00

Nearly 70 per cent of a newly grown protective forest and a large area of Cửa Đại beach have been washed away by large waves, intense rains and a higher sea level since last year.

A beach resort building in Hội An is eroded by sea water. — VNS Photo Công Thành
Viet Nam News

HỘI AN — Nearly 70 per cent of a newly grown protective forest and a large area of Cửa Đại Beach have been washed away by large waves, intense rains and a higher sea level since last year.

Head of the city’s natural resources and environment office Nguyễn Văn Hiền told Việt Nam News last week that 3ha out of 4.35ha of casuarinas forest have completely eroded, while waves are still smashing into a sea dyke system of Vinpearl Hội An Resort and Villas.

“We have yet to find an effective solution to curb beach and protective forest erosion. Waves are rising higher and stronger and damaging barriers,” Hiền said. “Sandbags and protective measures had been set up to ease erosion, but they can only help a little.”

Meanwhile, a pristine stretch of sand spanning from An Bàng Beach to Cửa Đại Beach – a favourite beach of foreign tourists in Hội An – has gradually disappeared with each passing day.

“I had to walk 100m down the beach to get to the water last year, but now waves are splashing on my feet and uprooted the casuarina forest. Every thing went down to water, while waves carried in rubbish to cover the beach,” said Nguyễn Văn Tài, a resident of Cửa Đại Ward. “Big waves with hard rain and strong wind in recent days approached closer to the coastal Cửa Đại road during the high tide at night.”

He said an area of beach 2km long and 200m wide has eroded in three months during an unusually severe rainy season.

A section of an 1,100m Geotube sandbag dyke on Cửa Đại Beach, between Palm Garden Resort and Agribank Hội An Resort, was broken by rising sea water and waves since early this week (from October 28th).

Rising sea water and tidal waves damage a small casuarina forest near Vinpearl Hội An Resort and Villa on Cửa Đại Beach near Hội An City. — VNS Photo Công Thành

According to the latest report from Hội An City, more than 20ha beach washed away between 2009-14.

Last year, an area of 4,000sq.m of Cửa Đại Beach, 5km from Hội An City’s ancient town, disappeared after a series of tropical low pressure storms and heavy downpours hit the central coastal region. 

Despite the construction of a 1,100m Geotube sandbag dyke, positioned under the water 60m off the beach, big waves still crash onto the beach and wash the sand away between November and April.

Nearly VNĐ200 billion (US$8 million) was used to build sea dykes or temporary embankments with bamboo and sandbags, as well as the Geotube sandbag in protection of the beach.

The city and the Agency for Development of France (AFD) agreed to conduct a survey of beach nourishment as a sustainable and effective protection of Cửa Đại Beach with an investment of 136,000 euro ($327,000), but it will not begin until 2018.

An expert from Hội An City blamed the erosion on the construction of resorts on the beach and the lack of proper environmental assessments before dredging the estuary. Construction of hydropower plants on the upstream Thu Bồn River and the over-exploitation of sand were believed to have caused the shortage of muddy sand.

The city has been calling for investment in replanting 140ha of nipa palm (a species of palm native to the coastlines) along the Thu Bồn River to reduce sand erosion in Cửa Đại Beach.

French-Vietnamese architect Bùi Kiến Quốc, who lives in Hội An, predicted erosion would hit An Bàng Beach, 2km away from Cửa Đại Beach, within the next few years.

The Cửa Đại Beach area witnesses sea encroachment of 50-200m annually. — VNS