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Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 07:52 (GMT+7)
Sea level rise and its alarming consequences

Today, under impact of the global climate change, the Earth is getting warmer considerably, warming the oceans to a depth of 3,000m and melting the icebergs, resulting in the sea level rise. With a large area of sea and a long coast, Vietnam is forecasted to be severely impacted by the rising sea levels in environmental, socio-economic, defence and security, and civil fields.

Illustrative photo

According to the report of the World Bank (WB) and some creditable international think tanks, such as Center for Environmental Systems Research (CESR), The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), etc. Vietnam is among the five most severely impacted countries by sea level rise. The monitoring data provided by coastal observatory posts in the 1993 – 2010 period revealed that sea level in the East Sea rises an average of 4.7mm per year. Vietnam’s sea level is reported with an average rise of 2.8mm annually. The recent forecasts have also reported that Vietnam’s sea level can increase 33.3 cm by 2050, 45cm by 2070, and about 1m by 2100. If this is the case, many coastal regions and low lands of the country will be drown; some even will be flooded forever. For example, if the sea levels increase 1m, 4.4% of Vietnam will be flooded, and 10% of the population will be directly influenced. The most heavily flooded areas will be: Red River Delta with 17.57%, central coastal provinces (from Thanh Hoa to Binh Thuan) with 1.47%, Ho Chi Minh city with 17.84% and Ba Ria – Vung Tau with 4.79% of the area. Especially, the Mekong Delta will be mostly prone to flood with about 39.40% of area; in particular, Kien Giang province may be drown for almost 75% of area. The most vulnerable islands to sea level rise are Van Don, Con Dao and Phu Quoc.

Sea level rise represents a major challenge to the world, in general, and to Vietnam in particular, as it not only narrows a vast area of land but also can cause salinity intrusion which badly affects agricultural production and threatens civil life. The most heavily hit region is the Mekong Delta. Accordingly, as anticipated, by the year 2030, as many as 45% of the region will be prone to salinity intrusion which will inflict heavy damages on cultivation (about  USD 17 billion) as well as water supply in the low lands of the Southern region. The mountainous areas, though not being directly affected by sea level rise, will be badly influenced by the phenomenon in terms of food security, clean water, land, the increasing floods, etc. Furthermore, the consequences of sea level rise may also potentially affect the fisheries resources, tourism, bio-environment sectors, etc. This requires that each individual and organization in the world in general, and in Vietnam in particular should take concrete actions to save “the common house” as appealed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the Opening Ceremony of The International Year of Small Island Developing States in 2014: “Planet Earth is our shared island, let us join forces to protect it.”

Nguyen Van Su

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