Mekong Delta seeks $350 mln for building embankments
Localities in the Mekong Delta have asked for VND8.14 trillion ($352 million) in government funds to build dikes at 76 erosion hotspots.
The proposed embankments will stretch a total 140 km (87 miles) along riverbanks and coastal areas.
Ca Mau Province, the southernmost province in Vietnam, has been hit hardest by soil erosion, losing as much as 1,000 hectares in the past 10 years.
The province has a coastline that is 250 km long, of which 102 km has suffered erosion.
It needs VND1.3 trillion, VND800 billion of it “urgently,” to deal with seven erosion spots along its coastline,” said To Quoc Nam, deputy head of Ca Mau’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Kien Giang Province, with 50 km of coastline hit by erosion, is asking for VND900 billion.
An Giang Province needs VND1 trillion to protect its residents from erosion along the Tien and Hau rivers, two branches of the Mekong River. The province has counted 53 eroded sections along the two rivers and their tributaries which threaten the safety of around 20,000 families.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said it is working with the Ministry of Planning and Investment to propose that the government uses VND2 trillion from a grant provided by the World Bank to help build the embankments.
The Mekong Delta is the final destination of the Mekong River, which flows through six countries, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, before reaching the sea.
Formed by sediment and sand following the flow of the Mekong over 6,000 years, the delta has an area of almost 40,000 square kilometers, making up 12 percent of the nation’s total, according to the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research.
Harmful human interventions like intensive agriculture and aquaculture (leading to the destruction of vast areas of mangroves) and the impacts of climate change are factors behind the worsening erosion of recent years, experts have said.
In the last 10 years, Vietnam has spent VND16.1 trillion ($694 million) on anti-erosion projects in the Mekong Delta, allocating VND4.04 trillion ($174 million) in 2018 and 2019 alone.
The delta now has 564 riverine and coastal erosion hubs measuring a total 834 km.
By Cuu Long – VnExpress.net – May 22, 2021