Vietnam: Accelerated erosion threatens homes, income of 700 families

VietNamNet Bridge 11 Oct 17;

Water intrusion in the central coastal province of Thua Thien-Hue has threatened 700 families, with local authorities struggling to find a solution.

The intrusion began some 10 years ago in the province’s Vinh Hai Commune in Phu Loc District, but was aggravated in the past month after strong waves from typhoon Doksuri hit the coast. The sea intrusion progressed at a rate of about 15 metres a year, affecting 700 households whose homes are near the water’s edge, said Nguyen Huu, the commune’s acting chairman.

Nguyen Ngoc Dung, a commune official, said after last month’s typhoon, the erosion had reached 2km inshore in some areas along a 3km stretch of coast and is expected to advance to the commune’s entire 4km length of coast.

Last November, district authorities built a one-kilometre dyke in the most affected area, using rock and steel net. However, strong waves created by Doksuri swallowed the dyke and swept some 3km of coast into the ocean.

According to Dung, local authorities were aware of the growing threat, and instructed that 100,000 trees be planted on the coast to combat erosion, but residents said many trees along the coast were also swept away.

Resident Phan Van Vui said the water had now reached 30m from his house. “I settled down here 15 years ago when the water edge was more than 1km from home, but now it nearly touches my house," he said.

Landslide threat

Le Cu, another local, said that with the fast disappearance of the sandy coast, his family and many others in the neighbourhood are now facing the threat of sudden landslides. According to Dung, landslides have already taken some 250ha of soil used for agricultural cultivation and aquaculture.

Salty intrusion also affected crops and forced local fishermen to seek safer haven for their fishing boats.

While commune authorities have been using poles to reinforce the coast as a temporary measure, district authorities have suggested the construction of a dyke along the 4km stretch of coast.

District chairman Nguyen Van Manh said “only a thorough dyke system can work, as the intrusion is growing too fast.” He suggested asking the central government for funding.

Phan Thanh Hung, director of the province’s Department of Irrigation, said he had encouraged residents to use bags of rock to prevent landslides. As a long-term solution, his agency is setting up a project, which will be launched early next year if the department gets enough capital.
VNS


Floods, landslides kill 37 in Vietnam, scores missing
AFP Yahoo News 12 Oct 17;

Hanoi (AFP) - At least 37 people were killed and another 40 are missing as floods and landslides ravaged northern and central Vietnam, disaster officials said Thursday.

Heavy rains lashed swathes of the country this week, with northern Hoa Binh province the hardest hit with 11 dead and 21 missing.

"We are mobilising all forces to search for the missing," a disaster official in the province told AFP by phone.

At least 37 people were killed across six provinces, Vietnam Disaster Management Authority said, as authorities scrambled to find dozens of people still missing.

A journalist from Vietnam News Agency was swept away as an overflowing river cut through a bridge in northern Yen Bai province Wednesday. Authorities were still looking for him Thursday.

Images on state media showed people wading through waist-deep waters and tracts of forests wiped out by landslides in several regions.

At least 18 people were buried in an overnight landslide in Hoa Binh province, with 15 people still missing Thursday, according to state media.

A terrified resident described severe flooding in other parts of the province, where a state of emergency was declared.

"The flash flood was terrible. Water poured down from the hill, like a surge three metres (10 feet) high. Traffic has been blocked because of the floods," Phan Ba Dien told state-controlled VNExpress news site.

Eight people were reported dead in both Nghe An and Thanh Hoa provinces, the disaster agency said, while hundreds of soldiers and militia were deployed for rescue efforts.

At least 400 millimetres (16 inches) of rain has pounded northern and central Vietnam since Sunday, the disaster agency said.

Vietnam has been hard hit by severe weather this year.

In September typhoon Doksuri slammed into central Vietnam, killing 11 people and destroying thousands of properties.

Nearly 170 people are dead or missing from natural disasters this year, which have caused $36 million of damage, according to official figures.

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