The Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau will spend 198 billion VND (9.5 million USD) to cope with climate change and rising sea levels this year, said Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Van Su.

Of the figure, 120 billion VND (5.7 million USD) will be used to upgrade the sea dyke system in western coastal areas and 78 billion VND (3.7 million USD) will be spent on three coastal reforestation projects.

Initially, the province will upgrade 30 kilometres of the 110-kilometre western sea dyke; the remaining 80 kilometres of which will be attended to in later years.

Reforestation to halt erosion and mend damaged sea dyke sections will be prioritized in Ngoc Hien, Nam Cam, Phu Tan, U Minh and Tran Van Thoi districts.

Ca Mau has three sea-facing sides with a total length of 252 kilometres, accounting for one third of the Mekong Delta coast line, and is considered one of the hardest hit provinces from climate change and rising sea levels.

Since 2011, the province has proposed five projects to cope with these challenges from 2011-2015 and 2015-2020 with total approved capital of over 5 trillion VND ( 238 million USD), but insufficient funding has caused delay in project implementation.

According to a climate change scenario, if sea level is estimated to rise 0.5 meters each year, thousands of hectares of land and thousands of homes will be submerged a decade from now.

Local authorised agencies have requested the Government, ministries, and central authorities to speed up construction on upgrading Ca Mau’s sea dyke system ensuring its operation by 2020.-VNA