A farmer trying to save crops impacted by early floods in Hong Ngu district, the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Farmers in Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces are struggling to fight floodwaters caused by heavy rains, rising tides and water released in the wake of a dam breach in Laos.

Mekong countries have also discharged water from their reservoirs after the dam breach in Laos, causing water levels to rise in the delta, Tran Ba Hoang, head of the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research, told vietnamplus.vn.

The water level was expected to peak at 3.4-3.6m, he said.

According to Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourer) newspaper, thousands of hectares of rice and cash crops in An Giang province had been submerged in An Phu, Tinh Bien, Chau Doc and Tan Chau, causing huge losses to farmers.

Tran Anh Thu, Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said flooding caused by the rising level of Mekong River would occur earlier than usual this year.

The provincial agriculture sector has instructed localities to closely monitor the weather and tides in order to inform people of when they would need to harvest crops not protected by dyke systems.

Local authorities had been helping farmers to upgrade dykes, drain water from rice fields and harvest crops quickly to minimize losses, Thu said.

Vo Hung Kiet, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Thanh Hung commune in Long An province, said the flood water was rising by 5-7cm each day but the dyke system was incomplete, so farmers had no time to harvest tens of hectares of rice.

At a recent meeting on natural disasters in the Mekong River Delta, Nguyen Truong Son, deputy head of office of the Central Steering Committee on Disaster Prevention, said localities had been instructed to closely monitor the situation and provide updated information to authorized agencies and local residents.

He also asked provinces in the Mekong Delta to prepare disaster response plans and be ready to evacuate, and the provinces of Dong Thap, Long An and An Giang to harvest the early summer-autumn rice crop, especially in low-lying areas.

According to forecasts, water levels in the Mekong Delta will continue to rise quickly over the next 2-3 days due to floods from upstream, but then recede due to low tides.

Water levels will peak at 3.7m at the Tan Chau Station on the Tien River and 3.7m at the Chau Doc Station on the Hau River by August 18.

Regarding the situation in the North, Son said the Central Steering Committee on Disaster Prevention was also monitoring floods in the Bui and Hoang Long rivers and directing local authorities to ensure the safety of dyke systems and key irrigation works.-VNS/VNA