Emerging crisis in Viet Nam as Mekong Delta reaches record levels

Published: 10 October 2011 17:23 CET

Heavy rains across Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos have resulted in record flood levels in Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta. According to authorities, water levels are at a 10 year high. At least 23 people have been killed, with 30,600 houses flooded and around 14,800 acres of rice crop submerged.

An estimated 5.2 million people live in An Giang, Dong Thap and Long An; the three provinces that share the delta, and almost 245,000 acres of rice paddies are at risk.

In Tan Dung, a district in Long An, the situation is dire. Mr Huynh Thanh Phong, the deputy of the district, said the floods continued to cause problems. “This year, the floods rose almost four metres, damaging many roads and irrigation works. 70km of roads and bridges are underwater. 180km of canals and dykes have been damaged.”

In the village of Ha Long, 34-year-old Tran Thi Kim Loan, her husband and child have been living in their flooded home for more than a month. The local Red Cross branch has supported the family with about 400,000 Vietnamese dong (about 20 US dollars) – but it is not enough to support their long-term needs.

Their tale is not unique. Close to their house lives Mr Thuyet and his small family. Their home has been flooded for more than two weeks, but they are yet to receive any support. He needs rice, basic household items and financial assistance.

A Viet Nam Red Cross Society (VRCS) national disaster response team was this week sent to the delta to carry out assessments and to identify families such as Mr Thuyet’s and Ms Tran’s who were most in need.

The VRCS has released 50 million Vietnamese dong (about 2,400 US dollars) to cover emergency needs, along with one million water purification tablets. 3,000 household kits , which contain basic items that are typically lost or destroyed during floods, were also deployed to Ho Chi Minh City.

As this crisis unfolds, the National Society says this response will continue to grow.