UNICEF to help Ca Mau respond to natural disasters, epidemics hinh anh 1Due to the impact of climate change, riverbank and coastal erosion in Ca Mau province has increased in recent years. (Photo: VNA)

Ca Mau (VNA) - UNICEF Vietnam is willing to provide technical support and cooperate with the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau to tackle issues triggered by natural disasters and epidemics, UNICEF Representative in Vietnam Rana Flowers told provincial leaders on May 26.

The two sides discussed several matters, most notably the impact of climate change, rising sea levels, drought, and epidemics on agricultural production, together with clean water supply and education for the vulnerable, such as women and children.

Speaking at the meeting, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Than Duc Huong said the province’s per capita income is relatively low as just 40 percent of its workforce is employed locally. Climate change has increased the burden on local economic development, he added.

Prolonged drought has destroyed over 20,500 ha of rice and about 16,000 ha of shrimp, while some 20,500 households have been enduring water shortages since the beginning of this year’s dry season, the leading official said.

Huong further noted that those most affected by climate change are children from poor and near-poor families, as well as those from ethnic minority groups. Because of a severe shortage of clean water, the number of children infected with diarrhoea, dengue fever, or foot-and-mouth disease is on the rise.

COVID-19, meanwhile, has taken a heavy toll on local livelihoods, particularly low-income and poor households and policy beneficiaries, he explained.

He expected that UNICEF will support Ca Mau’s efforts to cushion the blow from climate change and epidemics and provide relief to those hit by natural disasters.

In the long term, the province is looking for assistance in developing a climate change monitoring system and freshwater supply networks not only for basic daily use but also for production.

UNICEF Representative Flowers spoke highly of the province’s efforts to support people, especially women and children, during emergency situations.

UNICEF is developing a cooperation programme with Vietnam in the next five years and wants to coordinate with Ca Mau to do more for local women and children, particularly in terms of education, healthcare, clean water, environmental protection, and natural disaster response, she said./.