CUU LONG DELTA — Local officials of the upper-stream provinces in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta have been ordered to intensify inspections of dykes and sluice gates to protect people and crops from floods.
Rice fields in Vien Hau Village in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of An Giang are already submerged in water. Floodwater from upstream has come one month earlier than last year. — VNA/VNS Photo Duy Khuong
In Nghe An Province, intense rains over the past four days had killed at least two and left two others missing, in addition to inundating 400houses and submerging thousands hectares of rice paddies.
Thanh Hoa Province recorded 182 homes affected by flood waters and warned more than 5.700ha of rice paddies could be completely lost.
Floodwaters in the Tien and Hau Rivers, the two main tributaries of the Mekong, are rising quickly in the An Giang and Dong Thap provinces due to recent high tides and heavy rains.
Water levels in the upper Mekong areas of Dong Thap Muoi and Long Xuyen Quadrilateral might rise by daily increments of 3-4cm in the coming days, the Southern Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting has warned.
In the Long Xuyen Quadrilateral, hundreds of hectares of autumn and winter rice are submerged throughout Kien Giang Province.
However, the planting had not been part of the province's zoning plans, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, adding that more crop areas may fall victim to the floods.
Farmers in Dong Thap Province's flood-hit districts are harvesting rice manually because machines cannot operate in submerged fields.
Tran Van Loc of Tan Kieu Commune, Thap Muoi District, said the cost of harvesting rice manually had increased by half to VND300,000 per 1,000 square metre.
In Hong Ngu District, 2,600ha of rice in Thuong Thoi Thien and Thuong Phuoc communes, which have begun to develop tillers, are in danger of being submerged, and local authorities have implemented several measures to save the rice, including upgrading of nearby dykes.
Tran Van Nghi, chairman of the Thuong Thoi Tien People's Committee, said there were heavy rains and rising floods, but the commune was using pumps to extract water from paddies so they were not damaged.
Nguyen Trang Su, deputy chairman of the Hong Ngu District People's Committee, said six teams had been set up to monitor six important dykes around the clock.
All communes in the district had set up hotlines for local residents to call in case of problems caused by floods.
This year the floods have come earlier and have been stronger than usual, eroding more delta riverbanks than previous years.
In An Giang, the banks of the Tien and Hau Rivers are being eroded every day.
In Tan Chau Town's Phong Chau Commune, 500 meters of river banks have been washed away this year, forcing the relocation of people living in 64 landslide-prone areas.
Tran Anh Thu, deputy director of the An Giang Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said banks of flood-drainage canals also faced severe landslides.
Le Van Hung, head of the Dong Thap Province Flood and Storm Prevention and Control and Search and Rescue Committee's Steering Board Office, said the number of cases of land erosion in Dong Thap and their intensity had increased this year.
In Hong Ngu District alone, a total of 17km of riverbanks have been eroded, sending more than 17,000sq.m of land plunging into the waters below, according to the district Storm Prevention and Control Committee.
The National Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control has requested storm prevention authorities in Thanh Hoa and Nghe An provinces to closely monitor the situation at dykes, especially in flood-prone residential areas, prohibiting residents from picking wood displaced by the floods.
Thanh Hoa and Nghe An provinces must also closely monitor water levels at reservoirs and rescue staff must be on duty at all times, the committee requested. — VNS