Farmers suffer huge losses and communities struggle amid high levels of seawater intruding into the freshwater delta.
Danang, Vietnam – “Well I can tell you, all my fish are dead now.”
Nguyen Thi Bach Vien sounds more resigned than anything else. She is calling from her home in Ben Tre province, a few hours drive south of Ho Chi Minh City in the belly of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, where she has a fish farm and gardens of coconut and pomelo trees.
Vien’s freshwater shrimps and giant river prawns are dying, too.
The 62-year-old has spent her whole life on her land, watching the soil gradually change and the air grow more sweltering every year. Now she fears that she and her husband are likely to be the last of their family to work solely on the farm.
“Dead fish and dead shrimps,” Vien says, “and if we don’t have a solution soon, I think, dead farmers too.”
The issue is water. Salty seawater has intruded into the freshwater Mekong Delta at unprecedented levels this year, to the point at which peoples’ crops and produce simply cannot survive.