Thứ sáu, 27-11-2020

Mekong Delta facing erosion risk of the flood season

With dense river, canal network and over 700km coastline impacted by the tide, wind and especially climate change, the ongoing erosion in the Mekong River Delta (MRD) in recent years is extremely complicated and becomes the biggest threat to stable life, property and production of the local residents.


A serious landslide passage in Binh Duc Hamlet 3, Binh Duc Ward (Long Xuyen City - An Giang) Photo: NLD


Existing erosion risk

MRD has two main rivers Tien and Hau, and many small rivers as Vam Co, Saigon and watercourses. As reported by the Department of Disaster Prevention (MARD), currently in the country there are over 737 erosion points of riverbanks and coasts with a total length of over 1,257 km, of which MD has 265 points with over 450km length. Due to geological and topographical soft and weak alluvial soils, the area is always in red alert for landslides in the peak of flood season.


Erosions of riverbanks and canals are increasingly serious, especially of the canals running through densely populated areas with heavy water traffic. Based on the erosion reports of the Mekong Delta provinces, roughly statistics of  the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research shown 393 areas having serious erosion speed and range along the primary riverbanks and canals excluding infield canals. Most of the canals in the area is expanded 2-3 times of their designed width causing considerable damage to land, homes, property, crops of people and public construction works along riverbanks and canals.


The Department of Disaster Prevention keeps warning that many areas in the provinces of Dong Thap, Long An, Vinh Long, An Giang and partly Kien Giang continue facing with erosion risks due to the water level raise in flood season and in late September and early October flood peak. After months deepened in the 3-4 meters flood, landslide range could be larger with several hundred meters up to several kilometer lengths when flood run down.


Difficulties in prevention

Recognizing the danger, along with the Central Government support, the Mekong Delta provinces mobilized the investment resources to build many sea dyke systems and estuary dykes with different scales, initially securing safe and stable production for people.


However, due to the lack of funds, investments of provinces are not synchronized,  the subsidence and lowering are occurred where soft geological areas were untreated before dike passing. In many red-alert landslide areas maintenance investments are impossible to complete before the flood season due to shortage of funds and priority just given to important dike routes. Therefore, the prevention regarded as “fire fighting” in many provinces when anti-erosion implemented in certain sites but erosion  taken place elsewhere.


In the workshop on " Mekong Delta Erosion Control - situation and solutions" held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the GIZ recently in Soc Trang province the difficulties that MRD faced with in combating erosion during the flooding  had been pointed as the management of all levels and sectors for river-bed gravel and sand exploitation, the material arranged along the river banks,  and limited operation of the waterway vessels; irregular review on riverside residential and economic development planning; improper financial policies for mobilizing resources for the erosion control and handling.


Representative of the An Giang Department of Natural Resources and Environment said that through funding from international organizations in the recent years, the province conducted many survey and assessment projects on natural conditions  and erosion related issues on the main rivers and channel for  river erosion risk warning, preventive and recovery measure guidelines. But due to limited budgets, the province could not be proactive in control, avalanche warnings and resettlement support to move people living in critical areas to safety.


Thang - Vice Minister of MARD said that they continue to call on financial resources from the international communities, the government and private sectors to solve erosion related problem and control in the Mekong Delta. Currently, to withstand this year flood season, river dike planning should be reviewed by the provinces, appropriate protection measures applying science technology and new materials for on site handling should be selected towards environmental friendly, cost-effective investment in construction. Public awareness on coastal erosion prevention should be enhanced for better protection and highest efficiency.

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