Prolonged drought has left nearly 5,000 local residents in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak facing severe water shortages and damaged thousands of crops, causing estimated losses of more than 300 billion VND (15 million USD).

More than 13,000ha of crops across Dak Lak had been damaged, including more than 10,000ha of coffee and 2,500ha of short-term crops, reported the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Local authorities were working with relevant agencies to dredge canals and had also earmarked part of the provincial budget to support farmers, said the department's deputy director Nguyen Huu Chung.

"Since the beginning of the dry season, which started in November last year, local authorities have been directing relevant agencies and farmers to take measures to cope with drought such as storing water, making use of all available water sources, preventing leaks and reasonably distributing water for different kinds of crops," he said.

"However, these measures only help in part to mitigate the consequences of the drought."

The provincial People's Committee has asked the Government to provide 100 billion VND (5 million USD) in aid to help local farmers repair irrigation systems and buy materials and seeds. /.