In Pictures - El Niño in Viet Nam

Since the end of 2015, unusually dry conditions and sparse rainfall attributed to El Niño have caused water scarcity and significant damage to crops in large parts of Viet Nam. The situation has been worsened by saltwater intrusion which affected 50 per cent of the Mekong Delta region, reaching 70-90 kilometres inland. Some water levels are at the lowest recorded in 90 years.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has released 195,700 Swiss Francs (196,800 US Dollars) from its disaster relief emergency fund (DREF) to support the Viet Nam Red Cross Society with delivering immediate assistance to 3,520 affected households. 

In the Mekong Delta, 160,000 hectares of rice paddy have been damaged and up to 500,000 hectares are under threat due to a lack of water. At least 300,000 households (1.5 million people) have had no income for several months due to the impact of the drought on their livelihoods.

The Red Cross has also launched a joint campaign with the National Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control titled "Together for the communities affected by drought and saltwater intrusion in the Central-Highlands and the Mekong Delta." 

In Pictures - Vietnam Drought - 1

In Chu Puh district, Gia Lai province, families have to share their water tanks with their neighbours. Nearly 20 people in the village are living on less than 100 litres (5 litres per person) of water a day for drinking and personal use. This water ration is less than one third of the minimum suggested amount of 15 liters a day. Photo Credit: Ly Nguyen/IFRC

In Pictures - Vietnam Drought - 2

Most of the wells in the community have been drained. Very few households are able to afford a tractor and water tanks to transport water from a stream located a few kilometres away from their homes. Many of the villagers have no other option but to walk to the stream and bring back only what they can carry. Photo Credit: Ly Nguyen/IFRC

In Pictures - Vietnam Drought - 3

Red Cross staff and volunteers test out the water quality of households in the affected community. The water that is available is unsafe for drinking and cooking. The IFRC's disaster relief emergency fund will support the Red Cross in providing water tanks to store water for drinking and cooking. Photo Credit: Ly Nguyen/IFRC

In Pictures - Vietnam Drought - 5

Coffee and pepper are the main sources of income for many farmers in Chu Puh district. The drought has affected the livelihoods of many farmers as the crops are now damaged. Photo Credit: Ly Nguyen/IFRC

In Pictures - Vietnam Drought - 6

At this time of the year, the rice planting season has already started. Due to the drought, farmers in the Gia Lai province haven’t been able to start planting. Nevertheless, they are ploughing the field waiting for the rains to come. Photo Credit: Ly Nguyen/IFRC

In Pictures - Vietnam Drought - 9

Several rice fields in the country have been damaged beyond recovery due to the drought and saltwater intrusion. Farmers have been forced to abandon their fields and could face poverty. Photo Credit: Giang Pham/IFRC

In Pictures - Vietnam Drought - 7

Using water trucks, Viet Nam Red Cross helps to distribute water in Dong Thong village, where the women are mainly responsible for the collection. This helps to reduce the distance the women have to travel to collect water. Photo Credit: Wirakhman Somantri/IFRC

In Pictures - Vietnam Drought - 7

The Red Cross water tanks come with posters on water treatment methods and ways to cope with drought or saltwater intrusion. These posters are placed at distribution points. Photo Credit: Wirakhman Somantri/IFRC

In Pictures - Vietnam Drought - 8

A Red Cross staff member demonstrates the six steps of proper hand washing to a community in the Phuoc Chien Commune. These demonstrations are crucial in helping to prevent diseases associated with poor hygiene, sanitation and the use of unsafe water, including hand, foot and mouth disease and diarrhoea. Photo Credit: Wirakhman Somantri/IFRC