Tuesday , February 7 2023

Erosion destroys 12 Mekong Delta houses


A dozen homes and adjacent fruit farms and fishponds were swept away by erosion in the southern province of Vinh Long recently.

Erosion swallowed up much of the banks of the Chien River on Monday afternoon, and there is no sign that it will stop soon, said chairman of the Hoa Ninh Commune Nguyen Hoang Nguyen on Tuesday.

Hoa Ninh is a central locality in Long Ho District, which has been hit hardest by recent erosion disaster.

“Erosion has washed away 500m of riverbank, affecting an area 250-300m wide,” he said.

Within two hours on Monday, 12 families lost their homes along with dozens of hectares of fruit farms and fishponds.

“We stood there and watched the fortune we’ve spent, and all the effort we’ve put in, just fly away,” said Nguyen Van Thao, a farmer who lost his home. “There was nothing we could do at all.”

Apart from the 12 homeless families, local authorities have evacuated eight more as their houses are now also at risk of being swept away.

Co Chien is a branch of the Tien River, a tributary of the Mekong River.

It flows 82km through Vinh Long Province, marking a natural border with Tra Vinh and Ben Tre Provinces.

River erosion has been getting worse in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam’s agricultural hub.

Since 1992, the region has lost some 300-600 hectares of riverine land each year to erosion.

One of the reasons is excessive sand mining.

Other reasons include industrial agriculture and aquaculture (leading to the destruction of vast areas of mangroves) and the impacts of climate change, according to experts.

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.

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