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Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

An important agricultural region is the latest victim of climate change

The rising sea levels and melting permafrost caused by climate change are causing crisis situations in a number of places around the world, resulting in tens of thousands of people having to leave their homes, while important agricultural areas also fall victim to the changes.

The Mekong Delta is one of the regions of Vietnam with the highest population density – almost 20 million people live in the region that produces a fifth of the global rice production. The region is a globally definitive centre of agriculture, but increasing numbers of people are forced to leave it behind due to the reductions in fertile land area, rising sea levels and expanding marshlands.

River deltas are formed by sedimentation: their soil is usually highly fertile, but they need to be replenished with sediment continuously, otherwise the soils along the coast get eroded. However, due to the Chinese hydroelectric dams built further up the river, the amount of sediment and water arriving in Vietnam has decreased, and that is reducing the amount of fertile land.

The other problem is caused by rising sea levels.

“The sea level rise is bringing up water so fast that our defences against it
have failed,”

said the head of a Vietnamese government agency in a BBC article. As the Mekong Delta is very low, an increasing amount of sea water mixes with the river’s water, which makes growing rice impossible along the lower section of the river.

Photo: Shutterstock

In 10 years, 1 million people have been forced to leave their homes due to environmental problems.

“The weather has changed drastically here. The flow of the river has moved closer to us, eroding the soil and
making the house vulnerable
without us noticing,”

said a couple in a BBC video interview whose riverside house had collapsed in June.

According to a Dutch study, rising sea levels will swamp the area much faster than previously expected, which may force 12 million people to leave their homes over the next fifty years.

Photo: Shutterstock

Source: G7

Further information: BBC

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