A farmer on the rice field that dried out due to drought in Gia Lai province. (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Government will provide an aid package of nearly 485 billion VND (21.8 million USD) to address the impact of drought and saltwater intrusion on 2015-2016 winter-spring crops.

Under Decision No.604/QD-TTg, the funds will be sourced from the central standby budget in 2016 to support 21 salinity-hit localities, namely Lao Cai, Phu Tho, Hai Phong in the north, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan in the central region, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Lam Dong in the Central Highlands, and Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Vinh Long, Can Tho, and Hau Giang in the south.

Two Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development irrigation companies will also be aided.

The Prime Minister asked municipal and provincial People’s Committees to use central and local standby budgets to address the consequences of drought and saltwater intrusion.

The drought and saline intrusion is expected to last until June 2016.

In the 2015-2016 winter-spring crop, 104,000ha of rice in coastal provinces in the Mekong Delta have been severely impacted by the drought and salinity.

If the drought lasts till June, almost 500,000 hectares of rice will remain unsown, equivalent to over 40 percent of the total area of coastal provinces and 30 percent of overall cultivation acreage in the region.

More than 150,000 regional households and 600,000 people lack fresh water due to the drought.-VNA