Rains renew Mekong Delta erosion threat

June 07, 2021 - 07:08

Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces and Cần Thơ have been threatened by erosion along rivers and canals in recent days, and authorities are taking measures to protect people and property.


The Provincial Road No. 946 along the Ông Chưởng Canal in Long Kiến Commune in An Giang Province’s Chợ Mới District was eroded 40 metre long and 4 metre wide last Wednesday.  – VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Sang

HCM CITY – Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta region has been threatened by erosion along rivers and canals in recent days, and authorities are taking measures to protect people and property.

The delta is entering the rainy season, which can cause more erosion, especially as rains and storms combine with high tides.

An Giang Province saw 50 metres of land being eroded in two places in Chợ Mới District’s Kiến An and Long Kiến communes last Wednesday.

In Long Kiến, a part of a house fell into the Ông Chưởng Canal as a result.

The district had earlier suffered erosion in four cases affecting a total length of 150 metres in Kiến Thành and Mỹ An communes on May 25, badly affecting transportation.

In Vĩnh Long Province, a 70 metre long and 20 metre wide section of the Cổ Chiên River dyke in Long Hồ District’s An Bình Commune was washed away on Tuesday, affecting one fish farming pond and 40 floating fish cages.

Hồ Thế Nhu, head of the district Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said work is being carried out to repair the eroded site and evaluate losses to local households.

The Sóc Trăng Province People’s Committee on May 25 declared an erosion emergency in the Rạch Phụng River and three river islets in the Hậu River in Kế Sách District.

The islets are Mỹ Phước in Nhơn Mỹ Commune and An Tấn and An Công in An Lạc Tây Commune. 

Kế Sách is one of Sóc Trăng’s districts most severely affected by river erosion in recent years, averaging two kilometres a year in recent years and affecting roads, orchards and houses.

The district has had 13 erosion cases with a total length of 525 metres along river embankments and river-side roads, 15 erosion cases with a total length of 714 metres in river islets this year, causing a total property damage of VNĐ7 billion (US$305,000).

After each time, they would mobilise people to repair erosion sites, but things are only worsening, according to local authorities.

“Erosion along river banks and coast in the province has become complicated in scale and impact, and can occur any time,” said Huỳnh Ngọc Nhã, director of the Sóc Trăng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The department has called on the province People’s Committee to instruct localities to assess the erosion situation and adopt preventive measures.

In Cần Thơ, a centrally run city, there have been six cases of erosion this year that caused a house and parts of 25 others to slip into rivers and canals.

Nguyễn Ngọc Hè, deputy chairman of the Cần Thơ People’s Committee, said the city has many sites severely threatened by erosion, especially during the rainy season.

The People’s Committee would ask the Government for funds to mitigate the threat and relocate households in danger to safer areas, he said.

The city Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, Search and Rescue has petitioned the People’s Committee to seek VNĐ252 billion ($10.9 million) for four river embankment projects in Bình Thuỷ, Thốt Nốt and Phong Điền districts.

The delta needs around VNĐ8.1 trillion ($352 million) to shore up 76 seriously eroded sites with a total length of 140 kilometres along rivers and coasts, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Over the past decade serious erosion has been caused along rivers, canals and coasts because of human and natural factors in the delta, the country’s largest rice, fruit and seafood producer.

MARD has sought VNĐ6.6 trillion ($287 million) from the government for the delta to fix 156.9 kilometres of sites including those slightly eroded.

It is also assessing the erosion situation in the delta.

It is also creating data about the delta’s existing embankment system. – VNS