Vietnam Province Declares State of Emergency as Drought Ravages Communities

In response to a severe water crisis exacerbated by prolonged drought and salinization, authorities in Vietnam’s Tien Giang province have declared a state of emergency on April 6. The region, located just 60 kilometers south of Ho Chi Minh City, has been grappling with a weeks-long heatwave that has left thousands of residents facing a critical shortage of fresh water.

Particularly hard-hit is the Tan Phu Dong area, situated along the coastline of the South China Sea and crisscrossed by waterways. Salinization, the intrusion of saltwater from the sea, has devastated crops and left numerous households among the 43,000 residents in dire need of assistance.

In response to the crisis, the state-controlled Vietnam News Agency reports that a state of emergency has been declared specifically for the Tan Phu Dong district, where relevant agencies are mobilizing efforts to transport fresh water to ponds and reservoirs to maintain a stable water supply for affected communities.

The situation is exacerbated by the broader challenges facing the Mekong Delta, where saltwater intrusion is an annual occurrence. However, intensifying heatwaves and rising sea levels, attributed to climate change, have heightened the risk and severity of the crisis.

Recent research underscores the significant economic impact of saltwater intrusion, with crop losses in the Mekong Delta estimated at nearly US$3 billion annually. Rice and fruit farms, vital for the livelihoods of millions, face imminent threats from salinization, further underscoring the urgent need for sustainable solutions to address the growing water crisis in Vietnam’s vulnerable coastal regions.