Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung at the conference (Source: VNA)
Soc Trang (VNA) – Ensuring water for people’s daily lives should be the top priority in the face of the severe ongoing drought, said Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung at a conference in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang on April 28.

The event, held to seek measures to cope with the drought and saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta, saw the participation of representatives from 11 regional cities and provinces affected, including Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, Kien Giang, Hau Giang, Vinh Long and Can Tho.

Deputy PM Dung asked the localities to continue keeping a close watch on the salinisation and mobilise the entire political system, especially the public, in their efforts.

They were also requested to swiftly disburse their budgets in support of production, instruct local farmers to restructure crop production and step up their coordination in the combat against the disasters.

In the long-run, it is a must for competent agencies to adjust their climate change scenarios, enhance their weather forecast capacity, build plans adaptable to climate change, devise policies assisting localities hardest hit by natural disasters and strengthen their international collaboration in this field, he said.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said salinity is expected to linger on fiercely and complicatedly, urging that a closer eye be kept on its development, to have suitable technical solutions to offer the local farming sector.

The conference was informed that about 225,800 households in the Mekong Delta are facing water shortages. More than 208,000 hectares of rice, over 9,400 hectares of fruit trees and about 2,000 hectares of shrimp farming areas have been affected by the drought and saltwater intrusion.

Statistics released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development show that since the end of 2015, saltwater entered 50-150 km deep into the mainland in areas around the Vam Co, Tien and Hau rivers, much higher than the average figure recorded in previous years.

Although water released from hydroelectric dams arrived in the region in early April, only just half of the regional farming land has been cultivated, as the amount of water that arrived is not enough.-VNA