Over the last one month, widespread and heavy rains and floods have caused severe damages to both humans and property in the central provinces. According to statistics, during the rains and floods in five central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam, over 9,000 hectares of rice and other crops were damaged and inundated.
A long-term player in the Vietnamese insurance market, Swiss Re is committed to strengthening resilience across farming communities in the country. A first pilot launched in 2011 has paved the way for a new national insurance scheme that has the potential to reach large numbers of the 10 million farming population in Vietnam.
Unprecedented levels of saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta have caused coconuts in Ben Tre Province to shrink by half in size, negatively affecting farmers’ incomes even more. Dwarf coconut grower Tran Trung Tac: "Each dwarf coconut should have at least 250 millimeters of water but now there is just half or even one-fourth of that, and more than 200 coconuts make just one liter of caramel sauce these days.
Many fruit growers in the Mekong Delta have suffered losses this year due to crop failure caused by drought and saltwater intrusion, combined with a lower demand for fruits. Nguyen Ngoc Nhan, a rambutan grower in Binh Hoa Phuoc commune in Vinh Long province’s Long Ho district, said his commune has never suffered from salinity intrusion in the past, but this year water in canals have 0.3-0.4 percent salt content.
The south-central region of Vietnam is estimated to have 51,000 – 70,000 ha of farmlands facing a water shortage and a temporary halt to cultivation until there is rain or farmers switch to drought-resistant crops, according to the General Department of Irrigation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Switching to high-value crops and adopting advanced techniques have helped farmers in Sóc Trăng Province’s Cù Lao Dung District cope reasonably well with the effects of climate change and ensure steady incomes. Located between the mouths of the Định An and Trần Đề rivers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta, the district is an islet that is affected by saltwater intrusion in its water bodies and thus lack of water for irrigation in the dry season every year.
The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADP) expect temperatures in Vietnam to rise by between 1 and 3.4°C by the end of the century, putting an additional 6-12 million people at risk of flooding. Economic losses caused by climate change could reach US$15 billion by the middle of the century, with floods causing an additional US$9 billion worth of damage.
Some 65,500 hectares of crops in Vietnam's central region will be affected by the ongoing drought, and nearly 138,800 households will have to deal with water shortage in their daily lives. Households in central provinces will be supported by the National Center for Rural Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation to build rain water tanks as a backup water supply.
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