July 24, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Vietnam: Fishermen are helpless in the face of drought

Vietnam: Fishermen are helpless in the face of drought

On the banks of a reservoir that supplies one of Vietnam’s main hydroelectric power stations, Dong Thi Phuong points to the cracked mud where the fish that were his source of income lived before the drought.

After a heat wave, amid record heat (44.1 degrees Celsius) in May and an unprecedented drought, water levels in northern Vietnam have reached alarming levels, putting residents who depend on water resources in dire financial straits.

Photo: AFP

Scientists say global warming is fueling extreme weather, and Vietnam, like many countries in South and Southeast Asia, has experienced prolonged heat waves in recent weeks.

At the Thak Ba hydroelectric power station in Yen Bai province, 160 kilometers north of the capital Hanoi, state media said water in the reservoir reached its lowest level in 20 years, 15-20 cm below the minimum required for operation. of the plant.

Photo: AFP

The nearby Chai River was little more than a trickle, a trickle of water that exposed a bed of rock.

“Normally, I can earn up to three million dong (115 euros) a month by fishing in the lake, but now I have nothing left,” said Phuong, 42.

Even his buffaloes suffer from this scarcity, unable to bathe in the now deepened water.

She also worries about her rice fields and her family.

will burn

“We use water from a well near our paddy field. This year, it has dried up,” she told AFP.

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She said that if the situation continues like this, we will not get water for our eternal life.

Drought has put pressure on power supplies in northern Vietnam, causing sudden and increasingly frequent power cuts that have hit the economy.

The crisis is particularly hitting the manufacturing sector, vital to the country, whose factories can no longer operate normally, according to leaders interviewed by AFP.

On the ground, although there are fish, it is too hot to stay on the water, said Hoang Van Tien, a 60-year-old fisherman.

“I’ve had this kind of drought before, but it wasn’t this hot,” he said.

“It is too hot to go to the lake (to fish) today. The weather was great, I sat on the boat with a hood to cover me, but the heat rose from the water and burned my skin. »

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