Mekong blighted by river erosion


Update: June, 27/2017 – 09:00

An eroded riverbank in the Mekong Delta city of Cần Thơ. — VNS File Photo.
Viet Nam News MEKONG DELTA – The Mekong Delta, home to some 18 million inhabitants, is plagued by severe riverbank erosion, which has been blamed on climate change and human factors.

Unrelenting rain last month washed away riverbanks in Hoà Định Hamlet in Đồng Tháp Province’s Lai Vung District, causing several stretches of rural roads to plunge into the river.

Some of the stretches were 20 metres long and 3 metres wide, according to a report released by Lai Vung authorities.

They have put up warning signs at sites affected by the erosion to safeguard local residents.

A 60m section of embankment in Tân Hoà Commune, Vĩnh Long City (in Vĩnh Long Province) was eroded, affecting transportation and daily life.

There has also beenerosion in estuaries along the coastin places like Gò Công Đông (Tiền Giang Province), Bình Đại (Bến Tre Province), Vĩnh Châu (Sóc Trăng Province), Nhà Mát and Gành Hào (Bạc Liêu Province), Vàm Xoáy Estuary and Rạch Rốc Estuary (Cà Mau Province).

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the delta has nearly 400 erosion-prone riverbanks with a combined length of 600 kilometres.

An Giang has 15 of them, threatening over 20,000 families, who have to be evacuated within the next three years.

Authorities in Đồng Tháp have reported that 13 erosion-prone spots where nearly 2,000 families live have been found in the province in the first five months of this year.

The province People’s Committee has petitioned the Government for support for its proposal to build 12 new residential areas for resettling people from erosion-prone areas.

In Cà Mau Province, authorities has reported that over 5,000 families live in erosion-prone areas, mainly in the districts of Trần Văn Thời, U Minh, Đầm Dơi, Năm Căn, and Ngọc Hiển, and they need to be moved out immediately.

A survey by the Việtnam Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change and the Việt Nam Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources found that hydropower dams in upstream Mekong are one of the main causes of erosion in the delta since they retain mud and sand, leading to a shortage downstream.

According to Tô Văn Trường, an independent water resources expert,  aquaculture farming in coastal areas has seriously affected mangrove forests, causing an ecological imbalance and erosion in many places, while illegal construction encroaching on rivers and hindering floodwaters is another factor.

Sand exploitation in rivers is one of the main reasons for their change of flows.

In May Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Trần Hồng Hà led a Government working group on a tour to inspect erosion in a number of Mekong Delta localities.

Dũng said solutions had been adopted in an ad hoc manner due to a lack of reliable scientific research on the issue. He called on ministries and relevant agencies to propose systematic measures to mitigate landslides.

He also urged ministries and other agencies to focus on erosion alerts and forecasts, while helping relocated people settle their lives. – VNS

This entry was posted in Sand mining - hút cát, Sông Cửu Long - Mekong river, Sạt lở bờ, Đập thủy điện - Dams and tagged , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development ( I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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