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China hailed for help in tackling Vietnam's drought

Xinhua, April 6, 2016 Adjust font size:

Photo taken on March 20, 2016 shows the lower reaches of Jinghong Hydropower Station in Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Xishuangbanna of southwest China's Yunnan Province. In order to help alleviate drought in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, China releases emergency water supply from Jinghong Hydropower Station to downstream Mekong River from March 15 to April 10. Mekong River originates in China and runs through the above five countries. It is known as Lancang in the Chinese stretch. (Xinhua/Hu Chao) 

"For farmers in Vietnam's Mekong Delta region, being given one cubic meter of water now is much more precious than two tons of gold," a local Vietnamese news story writes.

The information that water discharged from the upper Mekong River has arrived in Vietnam to help alleviate both drought and saline intrusion in has drawn great attention both domestically and globally.

"The best news of the day is that fresh water has arrived." "I am so happy." "I am a farmer in Soc Trang province (a locality in Vietnam's Mekong River Delta region) and I couldn't be more delighted," read some of the comments in the local VNExpress online newspaper, after the news broke that the water level in the Mekong River in Vietnam had risen.

Since late 2015, countries along the Lancang-Mekong River, including Vietnam, have suffered from drought to varying extents due to the impact of the El Nino phenomenon.

China released an emergency water supply from its Jinghong Hydropower Station in the southwest Yunnan province to feed the downstream Mekong River between March 15 and April 10, helped to greatly alleviate the devastating situation.

"It's such good news. I cried when I heard the news. I have been waiting for this information everyday even though I live in northern Vietnam," Luong Huy, a reader, was quoted as saying on VNExpress.

Dat Nguyen, another reader, wrote, "I am so happy for our people. I hope that it will help reduce the crop losses for all the farmers."

Nguyen Van Tinh, deputy director of the Water Resource Directorate, under Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, told local media on Monday that since April 3, water discharged from the upper Mekong River has arrived in Vietnam.

According to initial calculations, water from the upper Mekong is expected to help drive saltwater back towards the sea by around 10 to 20 km, Bao Tin Tuc, an online edition of Vietnam's state-run news agency, quoted Tinh as saying.

The directorate has requested localities to focus resources on receiving and storing the water effectively and to actively maintain water sources in canals and reservoirs, Tinh said.

At first, the water will be prioritized for local residents' daily life, such as drinking water for livestock, as well as for farms with trees and fruit trees of high economic value.

Thereafter, the water will be distributed responsibly for other crops, Tinh said.

Earlier, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh hailed China's move on discharging water from the Jinghong Hydropower Station, saying it was a positive move.

Minh said after China's altruistic move, Laos followed by example and also released water from its dams, helping to increase the water level in the Mekong River.

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