Prime Minister (PM) directs saline intrusion handling in Mekong Delta

Wednesday, 16 March 2016
The PM recently released an instruction requesting imperative measures to deal with saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta.

Due to the prolong record El Nino, the rainy season in the Mekong Delta ended early in 2015, leading to the lack of rain. In the early of 2016, water inflows to the Mekong River dropped sharply. The Mekong Delta has been seriously affected by saline intrusion.

As many as nine out of 13 cities and provinces accounting for nearly 40% of the Mekong Delta’s acreage have suffered from excessive salinity, which has damaged around 200,000ha of winter-spring rice and vegetable crops. Meanwhile, 155,000 households lack fresh water.

Saltwater encroachment will continue, worsening in March and April and lasting until June.

Illustrative image

Ensuring people’s lives

To mitigate the impacts of saline intrusion, the PM asked municipal and provincial authorities to install more water pipelines and offer fresh water to residents, ensuring sufficient water supplies to hospitals, medical stations and schools, and preventing the use of unhygienic water that potentially leads to epidemic outbreaks.

Irrigational works will be operated to control salinity levels, while more dams will be dredged to unlock fresh water flows.

The ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development; Finance; and Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs were required to list households that need rice and propose financial assistance for those affected to submit to the PM for consideration.

Keeping close watch on saline intrusion

The ministries of Natural Resources and Environment and Agriculture and Rural Development were asked to keep close watch on saltwater encroachment; forecasts and offer guidance to farmers.

The Ministry of Health is responsible for promoting the use of clean water, and responding to possible disease outbreaks.

Supporting affected households and enterprises

The State Bank of Viet Nam was assigned to work with commercial banks and policy banks at local levels to extend debt payment deadlines for households and enterprises which suffered from saline intrusion and early restore production.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment will adjust a master plan on socio-economic development for the Mekong Delta.  

The Ministry of Planning and Investment works with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Finance, related agencies and localities to prioritize central and local budgets in the medium-term public investment plan for 2016-2020 and other funds to support local residents to overcome disaster consequences and speed up investment in irrigation works in response to climate change, droughts, saline intrusion, and coastal landslides./.

Van Hai (Source: VGP)

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