Authorities in the Mekong Delta should continue to implement measures that enable people to co-exist along with the annual floods, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has said.

In a document he issued about the "living with floods" programme in the delta, he pointed out that the measures implemented over the past 10 years have worked.

Authorities have prioritised construction of flood-proof residential complexes and clusters, sluices for water drainage and flood regulation, and dykes and irrigation works which also serve transportation.

Besides, they have sought to combine the two or three annual rice crops with intensive aquaculture.

The PM said that Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds) and the Long Xuyen Quadrangle, where the floods are highest each year, have large areas and potential for rice farming and aquaculture and so should update infrastructure zoning plans to help cope with disasters.

With nearly 10 years' experience in growing the third rice crop, authorities should rezone its production to increase output since "the autumn-winter rice crop has higher yield and quality than the summer-autumn crop which is plagued more by pests and diseases," he said.

The third crop coincides with the flood season each year.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) should provide the region with farming techniques and roll out policies to support the third crop, the PM said.

People living in areas prone to land erosion caused by flooding should be relocated, he added.

On a related note, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai ordered MARD to complete comprehensive zoning plans for irrigation and agriculture in the delta to control floods, protect residents, and effectively and sustainably develop agriculture.

Based on them, local authorities had to draft plans for planting and developing infrastructure required for farming, he said.

The zoning plans must be submitted to the Government next year, he added.

Continuing floods in the delta have killed 49 people and inundated nearly 90,000 houses, 22,700ha of rice paddies, and 4,000ha under other crops, the Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control in the region said.

This year's record floods have also eroded 1,500km of dykes and inundated 1,340km of rural roads since August.

Authorities and residents have been reinforcing dykes and pumping out water to protect fruits and other crops.

The waters in the upper Mekong River, Dong Thap Muoi, and Long Xuyen Quadrangle will remain at the third warning level for the next two weeks, the Central Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting has warned./.