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Mekong Delta provinces bracing for rising water levels

Aug 31. 2018
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By Viet Nam News
Asia News Network

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Vietnamese provinces in low-lying areas in the Mekong Delta are at risk of heavy flooding due to water from upstream coupled with quickly rising tides.

The National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting issued a warning.

Water levels rose to 3.86 metres at Tan Chau Station on the Tien River on August 25 and 3.38m at Chau Doc Station on the Hau River.

By August 31, floods were expected to rise to 4.2m at Tan Chau and 3.7m at Chau Doc.

On September 5, water levels are forecast to peak at 4.15m at Tan Chau and 3.65m at Chau Doc.

This is expected to affect agricultural production and the livelihood of residents in low areas.

From September 12 to 14, the peak of flooding is predicted to reach 4.5m at Tan Chau and 4m at Chau Doc Station.

This will cause serious flooding that threatens to destroy infrastructure and livelihood of local residents.

Downstream areas could also be flooded.

On Monday, the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control issued an instruction on immediate response to mitigate possible losses and damage caused by heavy floods in the delta.

Localities must be prepared to deal with heavy floods, including ensuring safety for children and students.

Authorities have also been told to closely monitor changes in floods and rains, ensure information flow to local governments at all levels, adjust production schedules and warnings, and relocate people living in areas under threat of inundation and landslides.

Group patrols and guard forces must regularly check dyke systems, embankments, drainage and water systems, riverbanks and coastlines, especially in upstream areas.

Provinces in the delta are responding to natural disaster risks by ensuring the safety of local residents and farm production.

An Giang and Kien Giang, for example, have agreed to release water from two flood-regulating dams, Tha La and Tra Su, tomorrow, three days earlier than scheduled, according to Lu Cam Khuong, deputy director of An Giang’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The annual release of water from the dams will ensure safety for the dyke system and agricultural production activities downstream of both areas outside and inside the dyke.

On Tuesday, flood waters peaked at 3.95m at Tha La Dam and 3.99m at Tra Su, exceeding the second warning level.

Water levels topped 3.66m on the Vinh Te Canal, threatening 700 hectares of autumn-winter rice in Tri Ton district’s Lac Quoi Commune.

Tran Van Cuong, head of Tri Ton’s Sub-department of Agriculture and Rural Development in An Giang, said authorities had helped farmers reinforce and upgrade a sewage system to protect 150 hectares of rice yields.

On Saturday, farmers said the drainage system began leaking because of powerful floodwater currents rising on the Vinh Te Canal.

To minimise losses, farmers have been told to harvest crops earlier than usual.

Tra Vinh province is implementing 14 construction projects with total investment of more than 1.7 trillion dong, according to the local Committee for Disaster Prevention and Search and Rescue.

Of the figure, about 647 billion dong will be used for erosion-prevention projects along riverbanks and the coast.

The projects include building dykes along the Co Chien River to protect the My Long residential area in Cau Ngang district and anti-erosion works; planting mangrove forests to protect sea dykes in Hiep Thanh and Dan Thanh communes, Duyen Hai and Tra Cu districts, and Dinh An Town; and reinforcing dykes and embankments.

More than 581 billion dong has been allocated to upgrade sea dykes and river dykes, while nearly 189 billion dong will be used for the upgrade and expansion of Dinh An fishing port in Tra Cu and build shelters for fishing boats.

The rest will be invested in two projects that aim to prevent saltwater incursion, and dredge and upgrade canal systems, increase the number of clean water-supply construction for local residents affected by severe drought and saline intrusion.

Kim Ngoc Thai, vice chairman of Tra Vinh’s People’s Committee, said since the beginning of the year, high tides have damaged several roads in Tra Vinh City and Tieu Can district’s Tan Hung Commune.

The province has recorded dykes totalling a length of 1,300m and about 300 square metres of embankments damaged by high tides.

Additionally, heavy rains along with tornadoes have destroyed about 100 houses and numerous hectares of crops in the province.

In the first eight months of this year, total losses and economic damage caused by natural disasters reached over 3 billion dong, Thai said.

To minimise the loss, the province issued regulations against illegal encroachment on rivers, canals, and coastal areas and is planting more mangrove trees to cover riverbanks, sea dykes and coastlines.

It is also limiting the development of prawn farming along rivers or near dykes.

Local authorities are encouraging local residents to plant nipa palm trees and water hyacinth to create mud flats that could prevent landslides.

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