Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Government considers the prevention of drought and saltwater intrusion its urgent task, said deputy head of the Government Office Nguyen Khac Dinh at the regular Cabinet press conference on February 29.

According to Dinh, since last October, the Government has organised a lot of seminars on the issues and had direct instructions for localities that suffered losses.

Most recently, on February 24, the Prime Minister signed a decision to provide 85.1 billion VND (3.8 million USD) for Quang Tri, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Long An, An Giang and Dong Thap provinces to deal with drought.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked the PM for an additional 623 billion VND (27.9 million USD) for 39 localities to fight drought and saline intrusion.

The cost for this work during 2016-2020 is estimated at 55 trillion VND (2.47 billion USD).

Dinh suggested localities build dykes to prevent saltwater intrusion and dig wells and canals for water.

Adjusting the crop structure is a must, he added.

The official said at the press conference that due to impacts of El Nino, the south central and Central Highlands regions had to grapple with high temperatures and water shortages that affected 40,000 hectares of rice, 122,000 hectares of other crops and the daily lives of tens of thousands of local households in 2015.

Meanwhile, in the Mekong Delta, saltwater has intruded upstream 50-90km into the mainland, which is expected to affect up to 340,000 hectares of rice in the region.-VNA