Mekong Delta to face earlier, more severe salinity, droughts

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Vietnam’s National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting says salinity and droughts will come earlier and be more severe in the 2019-20 dry season than the previous year in the Mekong Delta. ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP

Salinity and droughts will come earlier and be more severe in the 2019-20 dry season than the previous year in the Mekong Delta, according to Hoang Phuc Lam, vice-director of the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

The rainy season in the Central Highlands and southern regions will last until October, with a high risk of low pressure and storms that go along with heavy rains, he said.

According to Lam, from August to October, the main flow of the Mekong river is likely to stay lower than the average level of most years by 10-30 per cent.

Due to a lack of rainfall and low upstream flow in the Mekong river, the flood spike this year in the Mekong Delta region will be lower than the average level of many years, with the peak of flood season falling in the first half of October, he said. The lower upstream flow is also likely to lead to elevated risk of drought and early salinity in the Delta.

Regarding the recent flooding on Phu Quoc island in Kien Giang province as well as in the Central Highlands and southern regions, Lam explained strong southwest winds combined with an inter-tropical convergence zone in the East Sea led to prolonged rains and high rainfall in the regions.

He noted that in the city of Buon Me Thuot in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, total rainfall in the first 10 days of August was 402mm, much higher than the average level in the same period of many years of about 111mm.

In Phu Quoc, the rainfall in the first 10 days of August was 1,167mm, seven times higher than the average level of only 163mm, and equivalent to one half of the average level on the island for the whole year of about 2,800mm. This was a record level of rainfall for the island since 1978, he said.

Dyke break

A 5m section of Quang Dien dyke system in Central Highlands Dak Lak province’s burst due to prolonged heavy rains, according to vice-chairman of Krong Ana district’s People’s Committee Nguyen Minh Dong on Tuesday.

Floodwater from the Krong Ana river overflowed and destroyed more than 1,000ha of rice due to be harvested.

Local authorities mobilised all available resources to fix and strengthen the dyke, using thousands of sandbags to hold back the water.

The system, built at a cost of 300 billion dong ($13 million), opened in 2014.

Support for flood victims

The Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRCS) will offer Central Highlands and southern localities that were affected by the recent torrential rains and floods more than 600 million dong to help them recover.

A VRCS team led by their vice president Tran Thi Hong An was sent to Phu Quoc island district in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang to deliver the relief aid on Wednesday.

On Monday, in the southern Dong Nai province, another team led by VRCS president Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu offered cash and necessities worth more 121 million dong to affected locals.

Another team reached Da Teh district of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong to assess damage in the locality and provide aid worth 210 million dong to the community.

Through assessments, the team will compile a report and make a proposal to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent as well as organisations and donors to ask for assistance.

Support teams have also gone to Dak Lak and Dak Nong provinces to provide aids to flood-stricken residents.