A rice field dries up in the Mekong Delta (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Crippling drought and saline intrusion are forecasted to continue damaging the south-central, Central Highlands and southern regions in April due to the devastating El Nino phenomenon.

PhD Nguyen Dang Quang from the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting (NCHMF) made the statement at a forum on El Nino in Hanoi on March 28.

El Nino and La Nina are opposite phases of what is known as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, Quang said, adding that ENSO cycle will make this year’s temperature in the northern region increase 0.5-1.5 degrees Celsius and that in the south-central, Central Highlands and southern regions increase 0.5-1 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, his colleague Trinh Thu Phuong highlighted that highest level of saline intrusion in the southern region will be recorded from the end of March to April, and it will reduce from mid-April or May. Irregular floods are also forecasted to occur, she said.

According to Tran Hong Thai, NCHF Deputy Director, although 2015-2016 El Nino has passed its peak, it can still critically impact countries – especially Vietnam, a tropical country with complicated terrain.

He stressed that enhancing forecast quality and issuing early drought warnings have crucial roles in mapping out production plans, as well as adjusting plans to supply and reserve water.

At the forum, the participants also discussed the weather’s influence on various sectors and measures to manage natural calamities in the short term and long term.-VNA