JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Vietnam's 'rice bowl' cracks in monster heatwave

Vietnam's 'rice bowl' cracks in monster heatwave

Thursday, February 29, 2024, 10:25 GMT+7
Vietnam's 'rice bowl' cracks in monster heatwave
A farmer looks at his crop in a dry rice field in southern Vietnam's Ca Mau Province, which suffered an abnormally long heatwave in February. Photo: AFP

Southern Vietnam, including business hub Ho Chi Minh City and its "rice bowl" Mekong Delta region, suffered an unusually long heatwave in February, weather officials said Wednesday.

Several areas of the delta are also suffering drought and farmers are struggling to transport their crops due to low water levels in the region's canals.

The intense period of heat began on February 9, meteorologists told AFP, with temperatures reaching up to 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) -- an "abnormal" high for February in southern Vietnam, which usually sees hot weather peak at around 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) in April or May.

In Ca Mau Province, at the tip of the Mekong Delta, farmer Hong Chi Hieu told AFP that "severe drought" had made the earth "very, very dry" and caused problems using the waterways.

"Most of us grow rice here. We have quite a bumper crop this year but the dry canals are badly impacting the transportation of our harvest," he said.

Le Dinh Quyet, chief forecaster at the Southern Meteorological and Hydrological Administration, said the El Nino weather phenomenon and the general impact of global climate change were contributing to the unusually long dry spell, which is still going on.

Globally, 2023 was the warmest year on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

A farmer crosses an almost completely dried-up canal in southern Vietnam's Ca Mau Province, which suffered a prolonged heatwave in February. Photo: AFP

A farmer crosses an almost completely dried-up canal in southern Vietnam's Ca Mau Province, which suffered a prolonged heatwave in February. Photo: AFP

It warned last month that this year could be even hotter because the naturally occurring El Nino climate pattern, which emerged in mid-2023, usually increases global temperatures for one year afterwards.

Scientists have warned extreme weather is also being intensified by global warming.

More than 80 canals have dried up in the Tran Van Thoi district of Ca Mau province, news site VNExpress reported.

According to local authorities, agricultural production is entirely reliant on rainwater and, given its scarcity this year, farmers were forced to pump water from waterways into their fields.

That caused a large height difference between the riverside road surface and the water level below, leading to subsidence and landslides, local authorities said, according to VNExpress.

Tran Van Thoi has recorded around 340 cases of subsidence and landslides from the beginning of the year, resulting in more than VND13 billion ($500,000) of damage.

AFP

More

Read more

McLaren 750S makes debut in Vietnam

A striking McLaren 750S Spider, resplendent in a vibrant orange hue, took center stage at its debut ceremony held in Ho Chi Minh City

19 hours ago
;

Photos

VIDEOS

‘Taste of Australia’ gala dinner held in Ho Chi Minh City after 2-year hiatus

Taste of Australia Gala Reception has returned to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Vietnamese woman gives unconditional love to hundreds of adopted children

Despite her own immense hardship, she has taken in and cared for hundreds of orphans over the past three decades.

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta celebrates spring with ‘hat boi’ performances

The art form is so popular that it attracts people from all ages in the Mekong Delta

Latest news