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Dried-up grasslands put livelihood in south-central Vietnam in jeopardy

Dried-up grasslands put livelihood in south-central Vietnam in jeopardy

Monday, March 30, 2020, 17:45 GMT+7
Dried-up grasslands put livelihood in south-central Vietnam in jeopardy
Eight-year-old Tran Le Nguyen carries a lamb in his arms that has passed out due to the heat in drought-stricken Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

As a prolonged drought has been parching the south-central Vietnamese province of Ninh Thuan for over a year, local residents who depend on the region’s grasslands to feed their cattle struggle to keep their heads above water.

Residents in Ninh Thuan’s Thuan Nam District said they have survived more than one year with virtually no rain. The same situation has perpetuated for more or less two years in Phuoc Trung Commune in neighboring Bac Ai District.

The lack of rainfall has caused the local communities to be spread very thinly in their search for life-sustaining water sources.

The provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has pointed out tremendous challenges to local irrigation security, one of which is the fact that water levels in Ninh Thuan’s 21 reservoirs are only at 20 percent of their designed capacity.

Several reservoirs essential to irrigation in the area have completely dried up while more than 8,000 hectares of agricultural land is left uncultivated due to the severe water shortage.

If precipitation remains scarce, the local people “might only be able to hold on for another month,” said Ho Xuan Ninh, chairman of Bac Ai District, with a deep sigh.

To farmers in the semi-desert, the local flock of 200,000 sheep is hopefully their last resort. That hope, too, is trembling as the scorching wind and arid soil have driven morale low.

A resident walks on barren soil in drought-stricken Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

A resident walks on barren soil in drought-stricken Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

A broken water pump is left on dried-up Ong Kinh Lake, one of the biggest lakes in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

A broken water pump is left on dried-up Ong Kinh Lake, one of the biggest lakes in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

A resident carries a stack of hay in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

A resident carries a stack of hay in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

Dead fish are washed up on the bank of a drying lake in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

Dead fish are washed up on the bank of a drying lake in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

Cattle graze on dried-up Phuoc Trung Lake in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

Cattle graze on dried-up Phuoc Trung Lake in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

Two men pasture sheep in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

Two men pasture sheep in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

A woman carries a lamb in her arms on barren land in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

A woman carries a lamb in her arms on barren land in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Vinh / Tuoi Tre

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