EUR2 million to assist communities affected by drought and saltwater intrusion
(VNF) - To provide emergency relief to communities affected by the ongoing drought and saltwater intrusion which have impacted large parts of Vietnam since the end of 2015, the European Commission plans to provide EUR2 million (around VND50 billion) for the nation.
Channeled through the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department, the aid will allow the EU’s humanitarian partners to introduce relief initiatives to alleviate the burden of the most at-risk populations in heavily impacted areas. The funding will focus on addressing the most urgent needs, which include food assistance as well as access to safe water and good hygiene practices.
“The disruption in precipitation patterns has affected the livelihoods, food security and access to safe water of the people of Vietnam. This EU contribution will help provide life-saving assistance to affected families at this critical time, ensuring that their basic needs are met”, said Mr Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
According to a press release issued on June 20th by the EU Delegation to Vietnam, the ongoing El Niño-induced dry spell has affected 39 of the country’s 63 localities, triggering widespread water shortage and parching vast areas of farmlands in the predominantly agricultural country.
As a result, an estimated two million people have been deprived of access to safe drinking water, while one million people are in urgent need of food assistance. All provinces in the Mekong Delta, Southern Central and Central Highlands regions have borne the brunt of the irregular climatic patterns, with some 400,000 hectares of cropland impacted with varying degrees of productivity loss.
In the last few months, Vietnam has witnessed its worst drought in 90 years. The water scarcity has caused severe saline intrusion in the southern Mekong Delta, with saltwater encroaching up to 20-25 kilometers further inland compared with seasonal averages.
Although the Government had taken preparedness measures and launched some initiatives in anticipation, the scale of the current disaster has become much worse than initially foreseen, surpassing the local capacity to respond. While seasonal rains are expected to begin in September throughout drought-affected regions, it will take some time for farmers to replant fields and restore their livelihoods.
Last month, the European Commission had also provided an initial EUR90,000 to support an emergency drought relief project by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, aiming to deliver much-needed assistance to the poorest households to meet their acute needs./.
( VNF )