“Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is the third-largest delta on Earth and home to nearly 18 million people, whose livelihoods rely mainly on agricultural and aquacultural production. Considered the “Rice Bowl” of Vietnam, the Delta supports more than half of the country’s total rice production and 95% of rice exports, contributing to Vietnam’s position as the world’s third-largest rice exporter. The region also produces 70% of the country’s fruits and more than 60% of the country’s seafood exports.
The region has recently faced the most severe periods of drought and saline water intrusion in the last 100 years—notably in 2015–2016 and even more devastatingly in 2019–2020. Dry season droughts have become increasingly severe year over year, forcing the Government to declare a state of emergency and issue a call for international support.
The Mekong Delta’s recent drought and saltwater intrusion provide a guide to what could become the “new normal” and highlight the need to take action. No matter how much is done to adapt, the root causes of the issues must be addressed, or the situation will only continue to worsen.”
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