Severe drought and saltwater intrusion are affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Vietnam’s southern provinces and the Central Highlands.
On April 8th, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it will provide humanitarian assistance to help Vietnam respond to this crisis.
“On March 25, U.S. Ambassador Ted Osius declared a disaster due to the effects of the drought in Vietnam,” said U.S. Consul General Rena Bitter. “This allowed the U.S. to provide support to Vietnam through the Vietnam Red Cross (VNRC), which has been actively coordinating relief efforts. With this assistance, VNRC will provide safe drinking water and water storage containers to those most affected and will carry out promotional activities to enhance the awareness of sanitation and hygiene.”
Since the end of 2015, Vietnam has experienced higher temperatures and below average rainfall, which has led to severe drought and saltwater intrusion, resulting in significant damage and threats to the national agricultural production and people’s livelihoods.
According to a report from Vietnam’s National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, the numbers of households experiencing water shortage are very high, especially in areas like Ben Tre and Tra Vinh. In addition, many schools, health care stations, hotels and factories are experiencing water shortages.
Since 2000, USAID, through the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, has provided more than $18 million in disaster response, preparedness and risk reduction assistance in Vietnam. USAID programs have reached more than one million people in nearly 150 communities with disaster preparedness services. USAID-supported disaster relief efforts are closely coordinated with and directly support the Government of Vietnam’s relief efforts.
The United States is proud to work with its partner, Vietnam, to help the people of Vietnam cope with an age-old enemy – drought and meet their urgent water resources needs.