VietNamNet Bridge - An official from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of southern most Ca Mau Province has called for the relocation of 12,000 people living along the southwestern sea dykes in the province.
A 100m section of a sea dykes has been washed away at the mouth of the Huong Mai sea in U Minh District, in southernmost Ca Mau Province.
The province should assist the residents in the disaster prone area along the dykes to move to safer places and provide them with stable jobs, To Quoc Nam, deputy director of the provincial department said.
Nam said the move was needed to protect the sea dykes from more damage and ensure the residents’ safety.
Nam said houses built without permission on dyke embankments should be removed urgently to secure the sea dyke corridors. The households should be offered resettlement accommodation in settled agricultural areas.
Inspection team should cancel afforestation contracts undertaken by these households.
A dyke management council responsible for managing and protecting sea dykes should be set up, he said, adding the corridors around the dykes should be properly marked off and signed.
After the province was devastated by storm Linda in 1997, 93km of southwestern sea dykes were built between Kinh Nam and Rach Cheo hamlets, Phu Tan Commune to An Minh Commune.
Residents, however, have encroached on the dyke corridors and large areas of adjacent protective forest have been destroyed.
According to an investigation of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, 2,775 households with nearly 12,000 residents are living on the southwestern sea dyke system and protective forests.
Seventy of the households have built their houses on the body of the dyke, 2,267 households have encroached on the secure corridor of sea dykes and 438 have built houses in protective forest areas.
Members of nearly 2,000 households do not have farming land, instead hold jobs or make their living from the sea or forest.
Residents filled in a 6-km section of dyke in Phu Tan District to practise farming.
Results of a survey show that 4.3km of the southwestern sea dykes have been downgraded. 1.5km of them were in critical condition.
The protective forests in U Minh District have been heavily exploited since the dykes were built in 2000. Four 100m sections of the sea dykes were recently declared as disaster risks and given priority for repair.
The provincial Irrigation Department has been working with a budget of VND500 million (US$27,000) to fortify the dykes with cajeput stakes, bamboo, sandbags and rocks, but the work has been delayed by heavy seas.
The Prime Minister has approved an urgent project, financed by the government fund for prevention of natural disasters, to upgrade the southwestern sea dykes.