Viet Nam: Drought and Salt Water Intrusion – Situation Update No. 1 (as of 24 March 2016)

Viet Nam: Drought and Salt Water Intrusion – Situation Update No. 1 (as of 24 March 2016)
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Name:Viet Nam: Drought and Salt Water Intrusion – Situation Update No. 1 (as of 24 March 2016)
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This update is issued on behalf of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam. It covers the period from 10 to 23 March 2016. The next update will be issued around early April 2016.

Since late 2014, a serious drought has been impacting the South Central Coast, Central Highlands and Southern regions of Viet Nam. Lower than average rainfall and very high temperatures throughout 2015 further exacerbated the situation. In the first half of 2015, nine provinces were seriously affected, namely: Quang Tri, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Nghe An, Kon Tum.

For the past three months, the ongoing drought, water shortage and salt intrusion have posed a significant risk to some 1.75 million people in the South-Central regions, Central Highlands and Mekong Delta regions of Viet Nam. A total of 39 out of the 63 provinces (62 per cent) of Viet Nam have been affected and 12 provinces have declared a State of Emergency (Binh Thuan, Ben Tre, Vinh Long, Soc Trang, Ca Mau, Tra Vinh, Tien Giang, Long An, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Ninh Thuan, Kien Giang).

As of 17 March, the upstream water level of the Mekong River is reported very low. It is expected that the water flow in rivers in the Central Region will continue to decrease until the end of June.

The drought is attributed to saline (salt) intrusion in the Mekong Delta affecting aquifers (underground water sources) which usually supports the domestic water demand. 

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