Making news

Mekong Delta faces increasing erosion along rivers, canals

The beginning of the rainy season has worsened land erosion along rivers and canals in the Mekong Delta.

The delta, the country’s largest rice, fruit and seafood producer, has reported a number of cases since May.

In past years, landslides would normally occur only during the flooding season in August and November.

Can Tho, dubbed as the capital of the region, has suffered 28 landslides this year, 13 more than in the same period last year, according to its Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, Search and Rescue.

They involved 1,410 metres of land and caused 11 houses and parts of 65 others to fall into the water.

The scale of erosion and losses are also larger this year, the committee said.

In An Giang Province, a landslide each occurred along the Hau River and the Kenh 10 Chau Phu Canal in Chau Phu district on July 22.

Luong Huy Khanh, head of the provincial Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, Search and Rescue, said people living there had been forewarned and so there were no casualties.

But he warned there could be further erosion at the two sites, affecting 44 houses and two sawmills.

Le Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Research Institute for Climate Change at Can Tho University, said the incidence of erosion increases as the season changes from dry to rainy.

Excessive sand mining in rivers, changes in river flows and the severe drought during the last dry season are the major causes of erosion in the delta, he said.

The severe drought caused the soil to dry, facilitating erosion when the rains began, he explained.

In recent years, Can Tho and provinces in the delta have undertaken many measures to prevent erosion and mitigate losses from landslides and relocated people living in erosion-prone places to safer areas.