Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said the central region must act fast over anti-erosion fears and ensure they have a future plan.
“The Central region is but a thin stretch of land, therefore maintaining the existing land areas and carrying out further land reclamation are critical tasks,” the Government leader said during cabinet meeting on Wednesday on the erosion situation and sedimentation at rivers’ mouths in coastal central region.
"We need to prioritise protecting local people’s lives and their properties as well as the cultural heritages, minimising damages to the affected areas,” PM Phúc said.
According to a report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the central region of 13 provinces and cities from Nghệ An to Bình Thuận boasts nearly 1700km coastline together with a dense concentration of rivers and streams, coming at a total of 48 outfalls.
Latest statistics gathered from local governments showed that by July, there were a total 88 erosions with combined length of 120km dotted along the central coastline. Quảng Ngãi Province suffers the most, with 21 affected areas with length of 35km.
In recent years, especially after the historic rains and floods in 1999, the severity and unpredictability of coastal erosion and sedimentation has brought hardship to locals and socio-economic development, the report said.
In total, 48 of the 88 areas, coming at 91.6km, are considered ‘critical hot spots’ that need immediate interventions in fear of disastrous disruptions to local lives.
The estimated investment for these 48 spots reached up to VNĐ4.9 trillion (US$211.61 million) against the total demands of VNĐ 9.2 trillion ($397.3 million).
At the meeting, the Government leader urged well-planned allocation of the fund for anti-erosion projects and stringent management of the fund.
“Arbitrarily designating a project as urgent to bypass open bidding, awarding the contract to an incompetent investor while making illicit riches from the budget of these natural disaster response projects is a heinous crime,” the Government leader sternly said, adding that the chairmen of the provincial people’s committees in the central region would be held accountable in front of the PM himself in terms of making sure that funds are properly managed and investment procedures sufficiently followed.
The agriculture ministry would act the focal point, co-ordinating with all relevant authorities to effectively carry out anti-erosion projects, PM Phúc said.
PM Phúc also told localities to diversify the fund for these projects outside of the constrained State budget by mobilising social capitals, international resources and Official Development Aid.
Highlighting the fact that 60 per cent of Việt Nam’s GDP comes from coastal provinces and cities, PM Phúc stressed the need to “co-exist with the sea, taking advantage of opportunities it grants while protecting the sea and marine environment,” adding that central provinces need to set an example in mobilising people to preserve the marine environment.
Agriculture ministry and local agriculture authorities were told to plan ahead for water storage as El Nino is expected to bring long-term drought to Việt Nam, with the hardest hit being the central region. — VNS