Residents in Vi Thuy district, the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang, build a temporary dyke to prevent saltwater intrusion (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The European Commission is making available 2 million EUR (roughly 50 billion VND) in emergency relief to communities affected by the drought and saltwater intrusion in Vietnam since the end of 2015.

“The disruption in precipitation patterns has affected the livelihoods, food security and access to safe water of the people of Vietnam. This EU contribution will help provide life-saving assistance to affected families at this critical time, ensuring that their basic needs are met” , said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

Channelled through the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), the aid will allow the EU’s humanitarian partners to introduce relief initiatives to alleviate the burden of the most at-risk populations in heavily impacted areas.

The funding will focus on addressing the most urgent needs, which include food assistance as well as access to safe water and good hygiene practices.

The ongoing El Nino-induced dry spell has affected 39 of the country’s 63 provinces and cities, triggering widespread water shortage and parching vast areas of farmlands in the predominantly agricultural country.

As a result, an estimated two million people have been deprived of access to safe drinking water, while one million people are in urgent need of food assistance. All localities in the Mekong Delta, Southern Central and Central Highlands regions have borne the brunt of the irregular climatic patterns, with some 400,000 hectares of cropland impacted with varying degrees of productivity loss.-VNA