Food shortages loom after floods destroy central Vietnam fields

A man takes soil samples over what used to be a paddy field in Quang Binh Province to test its toxicity, December 1, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao.

Ho Van Rao’s lush green fields in Quang Tri were buried under more than two feet of boulders, sand and other debris.

The field was the primary source of income to feed his family of three.

As he inspected the damage done by the prolonged flooding central Vietnam has had to suffer, he noted that some paddy sections had been swept away by floodwaters, while his tapioca field, cultivated over the past 10 months, was buried in rubble.

“We don’t know what to plant to make a living,” said Rao, a 46-year-old resident of Huong Son Commune in Quang Tri’s Huong Hoa District. Two wet bags of grains they have are all that’s left for the next six months, he said, adding that on sunny days, he would put them out to dry.

The Huong Son Commune has over 192 ha of paddy fields, but around 90 ha were buried under rocks and wood rotting deposited by the floods, rendering them unusable and irrecoverable. Le Trong Tuong, chairman of the Huong Son People’s Committee, said residents were facing food shortages in the future for people.

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Hoang Tao