Hundreds of kilometres of coastlines and river banks in the southernmost province of Ca Mau are suffering from serious soil erosion, posing a major threat to the life of local people if urgent measures are not promptly carried out.

Ca Mau has a total coastline of 252km along with some 10,000 rivers and channels.

The littoral districts of Phu Tan, U Minh and Tran Van Thoi have reported that serious soil erosion has been recorded along 12km of their breakwaters since the beginning of July. Meanwhile, water has claimed land along over 100km of river dykes.

Each year, Ca Mau spends around 15 billion VND (714,300 USD) on handling soil erosion and another 5 billion VND (238,000 USD) on manpower for the work.

Added to that, the State also pours in a large sum of money helping the locality upgrade the dyke system. The figure stood at about 50 billion VND (2.38 million USD) in 2013 and is expected to be doubled this year.

Damage caused by soil erosion as a result of climate change and sea level rise in Ca Mau is forecast to be fourfold the current level by 2030.

The Government has approved five climate change resilience programmes from 2013 – 2020 for the province with a total cost of 5 trillion VND (238.1 million USD), 1.3 trillion VND of which will be spent on improving breakwaters.

However, the most effective measure to alter the situation is to be growing submerged forests.

At a forum in Ca Mau on July 25, scientists underlined the major role of coastal saline-submerged forests in disaster prevention and environmental and fishery resource protection.

Yet Vietnam has only 166,000ha of submerged forests at present, down 60 percent from the figure in 1943, according to the Vietnam Administration of Forestry. And with the largest area of such forests, Ca Mau is under the greatest impact.

Experts pointed to the fact that protective forests in the southern region have been destroyed by human activities and natural disasters, leading to soil erosion.

They suggested local authorities rearrange protective forests and help locals improve their incomes through forest and biodiversity protection projects.-VNA