Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dao Xuan Hoc spoke to Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) about controlling floods in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.
This year's flooding in the delta is severe. The highest level in the upper stream areas is a little bit lower than in 2000, but is higher in downstream areas because of the combination of floods and high tides. The damage caused by the floods and high tides is rather large.
The northern and central regions now have comprehensive dyke systems to prevent storms and floods. But the delta's dyke system is still poor. Does the Government plan to improve the dyke system to prevent floods in the delta?
Building dykes to prevent floods in the delta is a sensitive issue because it has been mentioned in the past and there were objections. There were opinions that the delta did not need a strong dyke system because floods are necessary for bringing silt and fisheries resources to the delta.
However, everything is now clear. The impacts of natural disasters have become more severe, floods threaten to be more severe, so we need a long-term vision to ensure the safety in the delta and mitigate damages caused by floods.
Therefore, the Prime Minister has instructed the delta to cope with the annual floods but control them in actively. This means that the delta needs to have a dyke and sluice system so that when we need floodwaters we can have them, and when we want to drain the floodwaters we can do it actively.
In the upcoming period the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will review the delta's irrigation system and draw up comprehensive plans to submit to the Government to ensure safety in the delta's food-prone areas.
Investment priority will be given to the Long Xuyen Quadrangle and Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds) regions [the delta's low-lying regions]. After that, investment priority will be given to the downstream areas of the Mekong River.
Investment will be focused on building dykes and sluices. However, the construction process will depend on the money available to the Government.
The Mekong River Commission provides information about floods to concerned countries. The Mekong River's basin is large and runs through six countries, the work of sharing data among these countries is not being done well. Therefore, the task of forecasting floods on the Mekong River in a comprehensive and exact way is very difficult.
The current flooding in Thailand will not affect Viet Nam because it is in another basin and the waters will flow into the Gulf of Thailand.
But Thailand's past floods caused by the Mekong River had an impact on Viet Nam.
We have to admit that there is no place completely safe from natural disasters and floods. Even in mountainous areas, there are flash floods and mud slides. To put it in another way, we cannot prevent natural disasters but if we have plans to cope with them, we can limit damages.
Therefore, not only should all provinces make plans for relocating local residents, but every resident should also be prepared in case of sudden natural disasters and floods. — VNS