Local people living in the buffer zone next to U Minh Thuong National Park in Kien Giang Province have been suffering from severe drought in recent times.
|A collapsed road in U Minh Thuong District due to the extremely arid weather. — VNA/VNS Photo Le Huy Hai|
During the peak of the dry season, all the canals have dried up causing major difficulties in the communes of Minh Thuan and An Minh Bac in U Minh Thuong District.
Boats have been left stranded making it impossible to transport agricultural produce to the markets, and some traders have been forced to cut the produces' prices in half.
Hundreds of hectares of vegetables and 1,500ha of bananas have been affected by the extreme weather.
Nguyen Minh Trong, a banana farmer in An Minh Bac Commune, said: “Due to the prolonged drought, saline intrusion and the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the price of bananas has dropped sharply.”
“Previously, I could sell a bunch of bananas for VND6,000 (0.25 US cent), but now the price is less then VND3,000,” Trong said.
“Although the price has reduced dramatically, I still cannot sell because traders can no longer reach us by boat,” he said.
This has forced farmers to pay to transport their produce to markets in the township, and that is costing them a lot of money.
In Minh Thuan Commune, many vegetable gardens have been badly damaged by the extreme heat and drought.
The weather has destroyed 400ha of shrimp farms.
Road and dyke collapse
Along with losses to agricultural production, local people in U Minh Thuong are facing serious land erosion, and some houses are at risk of collapsing into the rivers.
According to Pham Duy Tan, deputy head of the agriculture and rural development department of U Minh Thuong Disrict, water levels in canals had dropped sharply causing roads to collapse.
An initial survey showed that there were seven cases of erosion on the dyke system outside the U Minh Thuong National Park.
One case stretches 168m, and 40m of road has been totally destroyed.
These landslides have made it difficult for people to travel and transport goods.
Facing the complicated developments of drought and hot weather, the district’s agricultural workers have advised farmers in the two communes to use water economically to maintain irrigation for their crops and orchards.
Sowing rice crops should be delayed until the rains came, they added.
Authorities in Minh Thuan and An Minh Bac have asked families living in landslide-risk areas to move to safer places. — VNS
With the country overwhelmed by fear of the novel coronavirus, another even more severe threat is slowly approaching in the south: the death of the Mekong Delta.
Fresh water supplies are being transported from HCM City to Mekong Delta provinces that have been affected by severe saltwater intrusion during the dry season.
Erosion and subsidence along canals, rivers and coasts have been severe in many areas in the Mekong Delta and local authorities are struggling to raise funds for works to prevent them.