The outlines of the MARD report were briefed on July 1. Members of a MARD mission just returned from Vietnam’s central region confirmed that nearly 200,000 hectares of rice and vegetables are withering. Half of the area suffers from serious drought. At least 15,000 hectares of rice will be a dead loss.
Drought is also drying up also daily water supply. At least 40,000 households in nine districts of Binh Dinh province, on Quang Ngai’s Ly Son Island, and along the lower reaches of the Thu Bon river (Quang Nam) are living without adequate supplies of clean water.
At a meeting chaired by First Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Bui Ba Bong on July 1, Pham Hong Quang, head of the mission to the central region, said that drought most serious in the north central region – the coastal provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh.
Quang said that of more than 250,000 hectares of summer-autumn rice, 62,000 are seriously short of water, including 55,000 hectares in the aforementioned provinces. Another 70,000 hectares of ricefields have been left fallow because of drought.
On the central coast, 25,000 hectares of rice and 23,000 hectares of vegetables are reported to lack water. The worst hit provinces are Binh Dinh (6000 hectares), Quang Nam (5000 hectares), Khanh Hoa (5000 hectares), Phu Yen (2000 hectares) and Da Nang (700 hectares).
Quang forecast that if baking sun continues for another five to seven days, losses will rise considerably. Specifically, the north-central region would have to write off another 12,000 hectares rice while losses on the central coast will double to reach 45,000 hectares.
The hot dry weather has persisted for more than two months, drying up rivers, reservoirs and streams in the region.
Major rivers like the Tra Khuc (Quang Ngai), Vu Gia and Thu Bon (both Quang Nam) are all dry. The level of water in reservoir at Quang Ngai’s Thach Nham dam is one meter below the spillway.
“I’ve never seen such a serious drought in my life. Trees can’t live in scorching sun and water shortage like this. Several years ago, the sun was fierce but we still had water,” senior farmer Nguyen Thanh Hung from Dien Ban district (Quang Nam) told VietNamNet.
“God is too cruel! How can we survive in this weather!” lamented senior farmer Le Than.
Most estuaries in the central region have been infiltrated by sea water. As a result, pumping stations are idle.
To save over 500 hectares of rice, Tam Ky city, Quang Nam province, spent over 800 million dong ($42,000) to build a dam against salt water intrusion.
On Ly Son island, twenty kilometers off the coast of Quang Ngai province, 110 families have built tanks to collect rain-water when wells became unreliable. However, their tanks are now bone-dry because there has been no rain since mid-March.
The island’s 20,000 residents must purchase water brought from the mainland on boats. They are being charged as much as 190,000 dong ($10) per cubic meter.
The MARD mission confirmed that central provinces have established steering boards to combat the drought and ordered drastic measures but the situation is not improved. Average temperatures in May and June were nearly 2°C higher than average.
MARD’s Cultivation Department and the General Department of Irrigation have recommended that drought-stricken provinces reconsider where the selection of crops should be changed to cope with drought, dredge canals, redouble efforts to manage irrigation effectively and dig more wells.
MARD will ask the government to mobilize anti-drought assistance urgently for the central provinces.
Source: Central Vietnam dries up – english.vietnamnet.vn
Date: 03 July 2010