News24

Floods threaten Vietnam's rice crop

2011-08-30 15:31

Hanoi - Rising floods in Vietnam's Mekong Delta are threatening the country's main rice-growing area, authorities said on Tuesday.

Water from heavy rains upstream in Laos and Thailand, combined with high tides in the low-lying areas of the river's delta, are putting thousands of hectares of the newly planted crop at risk, said Phan Thanh Minh, the director of the Southern Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

The delta's waters were rising at a rate of 4 to 6cm per day and were likely to rise to 4m above sea level on Wednesday.

If they rise any further, Minh said, they could break dykes and flood houses in some areas and drown the rice planted in the surrounding fields.

Farmers in the Mekong Delta have planted about 600 000ha of rice for the year's second crop, 100 000ha more than the same period last year.

Although the area is protected by dykes, some would not withstand water levels above 4m, the centre said.

Vietnam's central steering committee for flood prevention and control has ordered local areas to plan to reinforce the dykes and pump water from paddy fields to protect the crops.

It has also ordered the evacuation of several thousand households in mountainous areas further upstream that are prone to landslides in bad weather.