Authorities in southernmost Ca Mau province are taking drastic measures to relocate residents living in a protected forest along the coast as many of them refuse to leave.

Covering 4,000 hectares of land that belong to Phu Tan, Tran Van Thoi, and U Minh districts, the mangrove forest is currently home to 1,500 local households.

Since 2010, Ca Mau has injected more than 200 billion VND (9.2 million USD) into building a number of relocation sites, two of which have been completed.

However, most locals have declined transition offers. Although living near the sea can be hazardous, particularly in rainy season, the families have long relied on the forest to earn a living.

As the province targets to complete the resettlement programme by 2020, authorities are intensifying communication campaigns and establishing collective groups to process seafood, plant vegetables and raise domestic animals, among others.

Coercion will be used only as a last resort for local safety.-VNA