Landslide at a dyke in Tran Van Thoi district in Ca Mau province (Photo: VNA)

Ca Mau (VNA) – The impact of climate change and a rise in sea levels has accelerated the erosion of sea dykes in the Mekong Delta, with the southernmost province of Ca Mau being the most vulnerable.

In Ca Mau, the sea is washing away land at the rate of 15m a year, though in some places it has been as much as 50m for several years now.

Local government statistics show that 80 percent of the province’s eastern and western coasts are losing 450ha a year.

Tran Van Thoi and U Minh districts have been the worst hit, with more than 32,100m of coastline eroded.

More than 40km face the threat of eroding dykes, threatening a large area of coastal protective forests. The coast between Tieu Dua and Huong Mai in U Minh District’s Khanh Tien Commune has 2,000m of eroded dykes.

To Quoc Nam, Deputy Director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said with weather conditions becoming more complex, erosion could become a growing threat to dykes.

Studies by his department have found eight vulnerable locations in the eastern sea and four in the western sea.

Ca Mau, with 254km of coast, has an ecological system with both saline and fresh water and when a dyke breaks, saltwater seeps into farmlands, badly affecting agricultural production, Nam said.

The Government has approved a proposal by Ca Mau to build an eastern sea dyke at a cost of 1.3 trillion VND (58 million USD).

The erosion, which causes severe landslides and saline intrusion and pollutes the environment, also makes living conditions unsafe.

It is estimated that more than 10,000 households in the province are directly affected by saltwater intrusion.

Pham Thanh Lam, a farmer who lives in Tran Van Thoi District, hopes the Government will spend more to build and upgrade sea dykes.

The province’s coast is home to 260,000 households and 130,000ha of farming land. A dyke was constructed along the western seashore in the 1990s, while the eastern sea dyke has yet to be built.

The Mekong Delta, which supplies most of Vietnam’s rice exports, is the most vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise.-VNA