Central Vietnam gripped by intense heatwave

In recent days, the intense heat has covered the Central provinces. Tens of thousands of hectares of agricultural land and tens of thousands of households are facing the risk of water shortage.

Rice field of Le Thi Tan in Huong Khe District, Ha Tinh Province

Arid fields, thirsty people

Despite being near the Ngan Sau River in Hamlet 2, Huong Thuy Commune, nestled in the mountainous district of Huong Khe, Ha Tinh Province, many areas, such as Ong Voi and Dong Treo fields, lie abandoned, with vegetation dried up and dead. The irrigation canals, ditches, and culverts are parched, cracked, and neglected. Many rice fields, although planted for the summer-autumn crop, lacked sufficient irrigation, resulting in stunted growth and cracked soil. Additionally, many areas of corn, mung beans, oranges, pomelos, and various crops were withered and at risk of dying from the heat.

Standing in the dry, cracked rice fields of Ong Voi amidst the scorching Foehn wind, Le Thi Tan, 65, residing in Hamlet 2, Huong Thuy Commune, lamented, "The longer this heatwave continues, the drier the fields become, and the more the grass burns. Currently, only one-seventh of my rice fields have enough water for irrigation; the rest are abandoned. My orange and pomelo orchard and corn field are also withered, with the fruits turning yellow and shriveled."

Mr. Do Cong Anh, Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Huong Thuy Commune, Huong Khe District, Ha Tinh Province, stated that the commune has 310 hectares of agricultural land. However, due to water shortages, only 70 hectares are being cultivated this summer-autumn season, leaving the rest abandoned. The area has nine large and small reservoirs, but their water levels have dropped significantly, with some below 50 percent capacity and continuing to fall. Consequently, of the 70 hectares of summer-autumn rice recently sown, 30 hectares are at high risk of being completely lost due to the lack of irrigation in recent days. Additionally, over 20 hectares of corn and more than 10 hectares of mung beans are withering. Alongside the impact on production, numerous drilled and dug wells across the hamlets have run dry, leading to severe domestic water shortages and posing significant challenges to the residents' daily lives.

Nighttime rice planting

These days, farmers in the districts of Dong Son, Quang Xuong, Hoang Hoa, and Yen Dinh (Thanh Hoa Province) are rushing to plant rice for the summer-autumn season. However, the unusual heat is disrupting their work. To stay on schedule, they are growing rice late into the night until 9-10 p.m. or starting early at 3-4 a.m. Trinh Thi Thuan, a farmer in Hamlet 1, Dong Quang Commune, Dong Son District, said that they have to rush to plant the remaining area; if they fail to finish in time, the irrigation water will be redirected to other localities, and without water, they won't be able to plant anymore.

Residents along the Con River in Binh Dinh Province pump water to irrigate crop production areas and satisfy their thirst.

The severe heatwave has rapidly decreased the water levels in the reservoirs across Quang Ngai Province. In response, Quang Ngai has planned to cease production on 318.5 hectares of agricultural land and convert over 661 hectares of rice fields to drought-resistant crops to conserve water. With the heat expected to last another week, around 9,172.3 hectares of agricultural land will face water shortages, and about 15,572 people will lack water for daily use.

In Binh Dinh Province, Mr. Lam Hai Giang, Vice Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee, has instructed local authorities and agencies to focus on addressing the challenges posed by intense heat, drought, and saltwater intrusion. Due to the heatwave, nearly 2,000 hectares of agricultural land have been forced to halt production. Six thousand households (approximately 24,276 people) in districts like Van Canh, Phu My, and Tay Son now face the looming threat of water scarcity. Furthermore, the ongoing repair and upgrade of 12 reservoirs, necessitating their temporary draining for construction purposes, will likely exacerbate the severity of the drought.

Other news