Most severe drought in 100 years kills thousands of farm animals in Vietnam – China discharges dam water to downstream reaches of the Mekong RiverPosted by Jim at Saturday, April 16, 2016
ĐẮK LẮK, 16 April 2016 (VNS) – More than 130 cows and thousands of chickens and ducks died from drought in Ea Súp District in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk, according to the latest statistics from the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The cows and birds died due to a shortage of drinking water and nutrition.
In Ia Lốp Commune alone, more than 80 cows died, whereas Ia Rvê Commune had more than 50 cow deaths.
Hundreds of hectares of crops were destroyed, and at least 91 wells ran dry.
Phùng Ngọc Cường, of Village 8 in Ia Rvê, said he had never seen such severe drought.
The commune did not have any grass, so Cường led his 40 cows anywhere they could find food, including garbage.
Cường had to buy a rickshaw to carry straw at a cost of VNĐ4 million (US$170) and drill a well, which cost more than VNĐ15 million ($660), to supply food and drinking water to his cows.
Phạm Bạo, also of Ia Rvê, said he mixed rice husk with saltwater to feed his cows. Several weaker ones were given restorative medicines and vitamin C.
“My cows are worth more than VNĐ1 billion ($44,400), but now no one wants to re-buy them, so I tried every way to cure them,” he said.
At present, more than 30 of Bạo’s 120 cows have died, resulting in losses of VNĐ300 million ($13,300).
Nguyễn Ngọc Phú, head of the Ea Súp District Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the cows died en masse because they lacked nutrition, food and drinking water. They ate so much cassava, so they got indigestion and then died.
Many cows in Ia Rvê and Ia Lốp communes died because the communes did not have irrigational systems or reservoirs. [more]
15 April 2016 (Tuoi Tre News) – The devastating climate has caused 83 oxen in Ia Lop Commune and 50 more in Ia Rve Commune in Ea Sup District to die, while destroying hundreds of hectares of crops and draining 91 drilled wells in the locality, the local Office of Agriculture and Rural Development said on Wednesday.
“The animals have to endure extreme heat from the sun while grazing only dried grass, causing their health conditions to deteriorate,” said Le Thi Cuc Phuong, a farmer in Ia Lop Commune.
Phuong added that she and her husband have had to force their oxen to drink fresh water in order to prevent exhaustion.
Phung Ngoc Cuong, owner of a herd of over 40 cows and bulls in Ia Rve Commune, said that his cattle have been in competition over the few resources available.
“I have not seen such serious drought in years. As there is no grass left for the animals to eat, they now consume everything in sight, even garbage,” Cuong added.
The farmer spent VND4 million (US$179) buying straw for cattle feed and another VND15 million ($672) drilling a well to supply them with sufficient water.
Showing Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters the herd of skinny and fatigued oxen, Pham Bao, also from Ia Rve Commune, said that he had to buy several metric tons of quality crops to feed his animals.
Bao added that he also had to grind rice and combine it with water for the cows and bulls, while providing extra supplements and vitamins for the weaker animals.
“I have to do everything to save my group of oxen, which is worth billions of dong [VND1 billion = $44,820],” the farmer stated.
Thirty out of 120 of his cattle have died due to the harsh weather, costing about VND300 million ($13,445), according to Bao.
“The scarcity of water due to the absence of a reservoir and canal in the commune, accompanied by 40 degree Celsius temperatures, has posed many risks to the survival of the animals,” he elaborated.
A living cow can be sold for between VND13 million ($583) and VND14 million ($627), said Le Ky Giong, residing in Ia Lop Commune, adding that a dead one is only worth VND3 million ($134).
The death of the oxen arose mainly from the deprivation of sufficient nutrition, food and fresh water, said Nguyen Ngoc Phu, head of the Office of Agriculture and Rural Development in Ea Sup District.
The situation is common in the two communes, as there is no system of water reservoirs or irrigation ditches, Phu explained.
To cope with the severe drought this year, the local budget will be disbursed for the farmers to drill wells and afford food for their cattle, according to the official. [more]
HÀ NỘI, 16 April 2016 (Viet Nam News) – All forces should be mobilised to cope with severe drought and saline intrusion in order to ensure food and fresh water for daily usage, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Đức Phát said at a meeting yesterday.
Topics addressed by the Central Steering Committee for Natural Calamities Preparedness and Control included measures to confront drought and saline intrusion in the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands), southern central and Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta regions.
Phát asked localities to closely watch weather and saline intrusion developments and water resources to adequately promote effective measures that would minimise production losses and stabilise incomes.
The committee pledged to mobilise all forces to cope with the situation and avoid hunger and possible epidemic to drought-affected people.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment was assigned to closely supervise and issue reports on drought and saline intrusion for specific areas and localities. This helps local authorities set up effective plans for drought and saline intrusion control.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce asked the management agencies of hydropower reservoirs to supply fresh water to drought-prone areas as a priority task.
The local authorities should co-operate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to adjust production timetables to reduce losses caused by drought and saline intrusion.
This year’s drought was the most severe one in 100 years, and saline intrusion was worsened by the El Nino phenomenon in the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands), southern central and Cửu Long Delta regions.
So far, the droughts and saline intrusion have caused fresh water shortages in 390,000 households and damaged nearly 240,000ha of rice and more than 4,000ha of aquaculture production.
The total loss was estimated to be VNĐ5,200 billion (US$236 million).
According to the weather forecast agency, drought and saline intrusion are expected to expand to other regions in upcoming months. [more]
13 April 2016 (Pakistan Defence) – China has decided to continue discharging water from a hydropower station into the downstream reaches of the Mekong River for drought relief.
Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, said on Monday that his country faced a severe drought, and hoped that China would continue to supply water to downstream reaches of the Mekong.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Lu Kang echoed his words during a news conference on Tuesday.
"Considering the drought situation in downstream countries, China decided to continue discharging water starting from April 11 and last until the end of low water period. The water volume discharged will be adjusted in accordance with the situation in upstream areas and the actual demand of downstream countries."
Since the end of 2015, due to the El Nino effect, countries along the Lancang-Mekong River have suffered drought conditions to varying degrees, and their people's lives and work have been affected.
At the request of downstream countries, China discharged water from the Jinghong Hydropower Station in Yunnan Province from March 15 to April 10. [more]