VietNamNet Bridge - The historic drought this year affected 45,000 hectares of rice and crops, causing a loss of VND8.114 trillion in total. The drought and saline intrusion caused 2 million people to lack water for daily use, 1.75 million people to lose their livelihood, and put hundreds of thousands of people at risk of disease, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 


It is estimated that 7.6 million hectares of land in Vietnam have been damaged and left uncultivated, which may lead to desertification. 

The desertification in Vietnam can be seen most clearly in four areas – the northwest, coastal areas in the central region, the Central Highlands and Long Xuyen Quadrangle. Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces are the driest areas.

The historic drought this year affected 45,000 hectares of rice and crops, causing a loss of VND8.114 trillion in total. 
Besides natural factors, human activities are also the reasons behind soil degradation. In many areas, people have lifted the topsoil by 30-40 cm deep to get clay to make bricks. 

They thought that it would be easier to bring water to rice fields if the fields were lowered. 

However, this thinking has led to serious consequences. As the soil became exhausted, the crop yield has reduced by 40 percent, and scientists say it will take 5-6 years to recover.

Meanwhile, the people’s activities of destroying vegetation, leading to less forest coverage, is believed to be the cause of the decrease of underground water in the dry season. 

This also increases the intensity and frequency of flash floods in them rainy season, causes soil degradation and erosion and enlarges bare land areas.

Bad things to come

Under a scenario to cope with climate change and sea water rise, updated by MARD, the factors that cause soil degradation and desertification may get even stronger if there is no proper solution.

The average temperature in all areas of Vietnam is on the rise compared with the base period (1986-2005), while the sharpest increase seen in the north. The annual rainfall is predicted to increase, but the rainfall in the dry season in some regions may decrease.

Rising sea water is believed to cause saline intrusion and flooding which will make soil degrade more quickly. 

If the sea water level rises by one meter, 16.05 percent of the Red River Delta, 1.47 percent of central coastal provinces, 17.84 percent of area in HCMC and 39.40 percent of Red River Delta’s area would be inundated. 

Deputy Minister of MONRE Vo Tuan Nhan said that due to the limited capability of the workforce and equipment, the environmental monitoring remains unsatisfactory.