Vietnam’s Mekong Delta Declares Emergency on Devastating Drought

Vietnam’s prolonged drought, coupled with an extensive buildup of salinity, have driven five provinces in the country’s rice bowl to declare a state of emergency.

“This year’s drought and salinity have been way more devastating than what we saw four years ago,” said Nguyen Thien Phap, head of the water resources department in Tien Giang, one of the provinces that announced the emergency in the Mekong Delta.

The entire area of fruit trees in Tien Giang province, or about 80,000 hectares (310 square miles), are at risk, while 24,000 hectares of rice fields will give below-normal yields, said Phap, who added that water usage upstream on the Mekong by nations including China, Laos and Thailand increased the dryness.

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Mai Ngoc Chau