Viet Nam

Viet Nam: Drought and Saltwater Intrusion Situation Update No. 1 (as of 24 March 2016)

Situation Report
Originally published


This update is issued on behalf of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam. It covers the period from 10 to 23 March 2016. The next update will be issued around early April 2016.


• Since January, severe drought and saltwater intrusion has significantly affected the livelihood, food security and water supply of nearly 1.8 million people across all provinces in SouthCentral,
Central Highlands and Mekong Delta regions.

• To date, 39 out of 63 provinces in Vietnam have been impacted by drought – 12 provinces declared a State of Emergency.

• The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, United Nations and NGOs partners are conducting a joint multi-cluster rapid assessment to inform response planning. Findings are expected to become available around 1 April.

• On 15 March, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development organized a development partners meeting on the drought situation in the south of Viet Nam where situation from three affected provinces were discussed. As an outcome of this meeting, the Government, UN and INGOs decided to carry out a multi-cluster rapid assessment to better understand the immediate needs of the affected provinces.

1.75 million People affected by the drought and saltwater intrusion

39 Number of provinces affected

12 Provinces in state of emergency

226,094 hectares productive land affected

Situation Overview

Since late 2014, a serious drought has been impacting the South Central Coast, Central Highlands and Southern regions of Vietnam. Lower than average rainfall and very high temperatures throughout 2015 further exacerbated the situation. In the first half of 2015, nine provinces were seriously affected in the South Central Coast, Central highlands and Southern Vietnam (Quang Tri, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Nghe An, Kon Tum). Among these, three provinces declared the emergency situation in June 2015 (Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan and Nghe An).

For the past three months, the ongoing drought, water shortage and salt intrusion have posed a significant risk to some 1.75 million people in the South-Central regions, Central Highlands and Mekong Delta regions of Vietnam. A total of 39 out of the 63 provinces (62 per cent) of Viet Nam have been affected and 12 provinces have declared a State of Emergency (Binh Thuan, Ben Tre, Vinh Long, Soc Trang, Ca Mau, Tra Vinh, Tien Giang, Long An, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Ninh Thuan, Kien Giang).

As of 17 March, the upstream water level of the Mekong River is reported very low (water level on Tien River in Tan Chau was 0.31 metre; water level on Hau River in Chau Doc was 0.54 metre). It is expected that the water flow in rivers in the Central Region will continue to decrease until the end of June.

The drought is attributed to saline (salt) intrusion in the Mekong Delta affecting aquifers (underground water sources) which usually supports the domestic water demand.

Average capacity of medium and big reservoirs have also reached low capacities; some reservoirs are at 60 to 70 per cent of their full design capacity. At least four reservoirs (Da Ban, Song Bieu, Lanh Ra and Da Bac) have reached considerably low levels as of 15 March. According to national weather forecasts, there is a 90 per cent probability that effects of El Niño will continue until mid-2016.