Since January 2016, acute drought and saltwater intrusion has severely affected more than 1.75 million people in 18 provinces.
Rains have started but are irregular and below average. While weather conditions are gradually improving, the drought and saltwater intrusion impact on people and their livelihoods is still lasting for the rest of the year and longer.
There is a 75% likelihood of La Niña conditions occurring from September onward, potentially bringing heavy rainfall and floods to the already affected areas.
On 26 April, the Government of Vietnam with the United Nations launched the Drought and Saltwater Intrusion Emergency Response Plan 2016/17, including an appeal for US$48.5 million to cover immediate emergency needs. So far 31% of this appeal has been mobilized.
US$3,897,864 has been allocated from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to UN agencies in Viet Nam for life-saving activities in 8 most severely affected provinces.
Over the last months, emergency operations have accelerated to cover more than 18 provinces, mainly with water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, health, food and cash support.
Since May, El Niño conditions have been weakening and are shifting into a neutral state during June-July. It is expected – with 75% likelihood - to transition into La Niña from September onward, potentially bringing heavy rainfall and floods to the already drought and saline intrusion affected areas.
The National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting has classified the 2014/2016 El Niño as one of the longest ever (around 20 months) and strongest on record, equivalent to the one in 1997/1998.
Rains have started in most of the affected provinces but are irregular and below average. In May rainfall was 20 to 40% lower than normal. For June-August, it is expected to be 15 to 30% lower than average, but in September-October 5 to 15% higher than average.
Rainfall shortages and drought conditions are particularly severe for Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan, with rainfall only expected to increase by September.
Salinity levels in the Mekong Delta are slowly reducing but still higher than average. The annual Mekong Delta floods are only expected to occur early October, with lower flood levels than average.