Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Severe drought will linger in the Central Highlands and southern regions until May or June, and in the central coastal region until August, said Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Chu Pham Ngoc Hien in his interview to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

According to Hien, with the theme of “Hotter, Drier, Wetter: Face the Future”, the World Meteorology Day 2016 is spreading the message that heat waves and droughts are appearing more frequently in the world, and that Greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing.

In Vietnam, from the beginning of this year, heat waves have incessantly hit the Central Highlands and southern regions.

People in the southwestern region are facing historic saltwater intrusion and a lack of fresh water. Most recently, Tra Vinh became the eighth province in the region to announce a saline intrusion emergency, the official stated.

According to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorology Forecasting, natural disasters will become more severe and more unpredictable in the future. In late 2016, it is anticipated that there may be more storms compared to normal.

Average temperatures in the Mekong Delta region in the remaining months of this year’s dry season will be 0.5-1.5 degrees Celsius higher than previous years, with temperatures typically between 33-37 Celcius. The rainy season is expected to arrive late, with average rainfall predicted to be 30-50 percent lower than average.

In the Central Highlands, the water flow in major rivers has reduced by 20-70 percent compared to normal years. The current water volume in many reservoirs has dropped to 30-60 percent of design capacity.

Initial statistics show more than 7,000 ha of rice in the region had to be abandoned due to a shortage of water, while 5,400 other hectares have been damaged by drought. More than 35,000 ha of industrial crops are being threatened by water shortage.

If rain does not come by the end of March, the drought-hit area will expand to 135,000ha.-VNA