Downstream Delta faces flooding
4 November 2011
Ongoing floods and high tides over the past days have created higher-than-normal inundation in the provinces downstream of the Mekong River as well as in Can Tho City.
In Tra Vinh Province, high tides from the mouths of the Tien and Hau rivers, two main tributaries of the Mekong River, have inundated Tra Vinh City and six districts on a large scale, according to the province's Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control and Rescue.
High tides have deeply penetrated inland with water levels rising by 50-60cm, breaching 60 dykes and inundating thousands of hectares of fruits and other crops in Tra Vinh fields.
In Ca Mau Province's Cai Nuoc District, all roads in the centre of Tran Thoi Commune are submerged under water and some are 80cm underwater, according to the commune's People's Committee.
Waters from floods and high tides have flooded 15,700 houses and 91 schools in Can Tho City. The city's inner district of Ninh Kieu has the highest number of flooded houses. Ky Quang Vinh, director of the Can Tho Natural Resources and Environment Observation Centre, said the high tides and floods that normally occurred each year had been more extreme this year.
Unlike the previous year, high tides have affected the upperstream areas of the Mekong River in Viet Nam, including Tan Chau and Chau Doc in An Giang Province.
However, the highest water levels of the Mekong River in Thailand and Laos are lower than average.
"Because of this, the delta could face a water shortage in the coming dry season," he said.
The highest water levels of the Mekong River in the upperstream area in Viet Nam and above the Viet Nam–Cambodia border area are lower than they were in 2000.
But the floodwater levels in An Giang's Long Xuyen City, Can Tho and downstream provinces are higher than they were in 2000 when there were historic high floods, according to Tran Anh Thu, deputy director of the An Giang Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Thu attributed the higher floodwater levels to rising high tides and the construction of infrastructure, which has restricted the flow of floods into the sea. Construction of urban and residential areas, and transport and dyke systems in downstream areas had limited the flow of floods into the sea, he said, adding that high tides were only a secondary cause of the inundation.
Flood waters in the upperstream areas of the Mekong River, Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds) and Long Xuyen Quadrangle regions in the Mekong Delta are beginning to recede, according to the Central Region's Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.
The water level of the Tien River in Tan Chau Station is expected to fall from 4.3m on November 1 to 4.05m on November 4.
Floods in the delta had killed 65 people, inundated 125,858 houses and 23,654ha of rice paddies and eroded 1,564km of dykes as of Tuesday, the Central Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control has reported.
This year's record floods have caused an estimated damage of more than VND2.85 trillion (US$135 million) in the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam since they began in August.