MEKONG DELTA – The Ministry of Agricultre and Natural Resources is seeking solutions to prevent landslides in the Mekong Delta, after a landslide occurred on the Vàm Cỏ Lau Canal on Monday afternoon in An Giang Province, causing six houses to collapse and forcing two other households to relocate.
Late last month, a serious landslide along the Vàm Nao River occurred in Chợ Mới District of the province, causing losses of VNĐ90 billion ($3.96 million).
The most recent landslide, which occurred in the province’s An Phú District’s Phú Hữu Commune, left a crater that was 100m long, 10m wide and 15m deep.
As soon as the crack on the canal was discovered on May 4, commune authorities urged local people to evacuate, thus avoiding loss of life.
Local police and the Army were asked to help residents relocate their properties to safe areas, and to put up warning signs and ban vehicles at the site of the landslide.
Of the eight households still living in the high-risk area, five houses could collapse at any moment.
Cao Xuân Diệu, chairman of the commune’s People’s Committee, said that each family whose house collapsed suffered a loss of VNĐ30 million (US$1,320).
The commune gave each affected household VNĐ1 million in cash and 10 kilos of rice per person.
On May 9, a group of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) began a four-day trip to review the causes of the landslides in the Delta and work with local authorities to set up plans to deal with disasters that have threatened people’s lives.
On the first day, the group visited several sea dykes in Bạc Liêu Province.
Though the province has great potential to develop the sea economy thanks to its 56-km coastline, it has been affected by climate change, rising sea levels, saltwater intrusion and sea dyke breaching, threatening 100,000 people living by the sea, Dương Thành Trung, chairman of the Bạc Liêu Province People’s Committee, said at a meeting with MARD officials.
Since the beginning of the year, high tides, huge waves and strong winds have damaged the Gành Hào dyke in Đông Hải District’s Gành Hào Town and Nhà Mát dyke in Bạc Liêu City’s Nhà Mát Ward.
Erosion has occurred on a 940 sq.m area of the Gành Hào Sea Dyke, while erosion on the Nhà Mát embankment stretches for 24 metres. Cracks and subsidence along the rest of the embankment have been reported.
The two sea dykes play an important role in protecting thousands of households and tens of thousands of hectares of coastal land.
Bạc Liêu Province has asked for assistance from experts at research institutes and universities to solve the problem of dyke breaching.
One of the adopted measures would help reduce the height and strength of waves.
The province has asked for VNĐ340 billion ($14.95 million) of aid to implement measures to prevent further erosion and protect sea dykes.
Trần Quang Hoài, deputy head of MARD’s Water Resource Directorate, praised the province’s efforts to deal with erosion and instructed it to protect the dykes as the rainy season would come soon.
After the trip, MARD will work with other ministries and agencies to find a long-term and sustainable plan to combat landslides in the delta.
The delta has around 265 highly vulnerable spots where landslides have occurred, covering a total 450km in length.
Landslides have caused an annual average loss of 500ha of land in recent years.
The situation has worsened in recent years, especially in An Giang Province’s Chợ Mới District and Đồng Tháp Province’s Thanh Bình District.
Đồng Tháp Province on April 28 declared a state of emergency after several landslides occurred in April along a 210m section of the Tiền River in Thanh Bình District’s Bình Thạnh Commune. -VNS
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