Soil erosion strikes in Mekong Delta province

Soil erosion as a result of climate change and rising sea levels is worsening in the coastal areas of the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh, impacting greatly on the life of local residents.

Tra Vinh has a coastline of 65km, spanning nine communes and towns which are home to nearly 17,500 households. Up to 55km of that lies in Duyen Hai district.

In the past decade, seawater has worn away hundreds of hectares of protective forests and residential land in Duyen Hai. Even some breakwaters built to prevent this have been damaged.

Le Thi Tuyet Mai from the district’s Dan Thanh commune said that her house used to be located 400 metres from a breakwater. Now, the new breakwater has been repositioned much closer to her home.

Half of her 4,000 sq.m. farmland has also been washed away, Mai said, adding that she worries her property house will one day be swept out to the sea.

In nearby Hiep Thanh commune, a thousand ‘phi lao’ trees (a species of the Casuarinaceae family) which were planted to protect a 20-year-old breakwater have been uprooted by sea waves.

Tran Cong Lap, a local resident, said the sea has swallowed four fifths of his 5,000 sq.m. of farmland, causing many difficulties for his family.

According to the Hiep Thanh People’s Committee, the local shoreline has eroded severely since 1997 due to the impacts of climate change.

In some sections, sea water has cut up to 2,000 metres deep into the land and washed away 200 hectares of soil, leaving a total damage of some 3 billion VND (142,800 USD), the committee added.

Since 2008, Tra Vinh province has received nearly 115 billion VND (5.5 million USD) from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to reinforce breakwaters and jetties. Meanwhile, about 420 billion VND (20 million USD) has been granted to Tra Vinh for the completion of nearly 5km of jetties in 2014.

However, Nguyen Van Truong, an official of the provincial Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control, said that the money allocated to his locality every year is not enough to build sea water retention facilities.

If the situation continues, unfinished breakwaters will continue to be destroyed and expenses will build up, he said, adding that more support from the Government is needed to complete the system.


Soil erosion, mekong delta, tra vinh