Landslides in Mekong River Delta getting worse

VietNamNet Bridge - Landslides in the Mekong River Delta have deprived locals’ of their homes and depleted natural resources. 

Vietnam, landslide, Mekong River DeltaVietnam, landslide, Mekong River Delta

Part 1: Human causes

While people have to struggle hard with the rigors of the nature, they themselves cause serious landslides harmful to their lives.

According to the Department for Disaster Control under the General Department of Water Resources, there are 737 landslide hotspots along the riverbanks and coasts with a total length of 1,257 kilometers. Of these, 265 spots are in the Mekong River Delta with total length of 450 kilometers.

In An Giang Province, 48 river sections with 156 kilometers in length, are prone to landslide and erosion. Of these, 10 river sections have been marked as ‘very dangerous’ and 31 as ‘dangerous’.

About 5-10 landslide cases occur every year, which causes the loss of 15-20 hectares of land and damages worth VND10 million. In 2012 alone, the province witnessed 15 landslide cases that caused the disappearance of 30 hectares of land and damages worth VND18 billion. Because of the landslide, 350 households had to evacuate to new places.

In Can Tho City, landslides killed four people and injured five, damaging 37 houses and causing losses of VND10 billion. 

Most recently, a serious landslide case swallowed 100 meters of concrete road in Cai rang District in the dry season, interrupting traffic and shocking hundreds of households nearby.

According to an official of the Can Tho City, landslide occurs in both flooding and dry season, near main rivers or canal networks. 

Experts believe that landslides are getting more serious because of the impact of the river flow, especially floods and high tides, weak geological structure and poor resistance to erosion.

However, scientists believe that the biggest danger is from human daily activities. 

People have encroached on riverbanks to make room for houses and have built embankments for agricultural production.

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoang Van Thang, there are three reasons that cause landslide. 

First, the construction of works on the upper course of Mekong River. 

Second, the increasing impact of climate change. 

Third, human’s activities to develop local economies, including unreasonable use of coastal land, sand overexploitation and aquaculture development.

Do Duc Trung, deputy head of the Southern Institute for Irrigation Works Programming, has issued warnings about the degradation of the mangrove forests. Under the Prime Minister’s Decision 667, the mangrove forest area before sea dykes was targeted to be 24,000 hectares, but there are 12,000 hectares only.

Lao Dong

Vietnam, landslide, Mekong River Delta