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'Mekong delta will be partly submerged': study

By the end of this century, 20 percent of Vietnam's business hub Ho Chi Minh City will be inundated and 39 percent of the Mekong Delta will be submerged, according to a Vietnamese study.

Such a prediction might not be so accurate. The study only used the map and assumed that the ocean would rise some centimeters, but could not say exactly how high.

However the climate change phenomenon in this century would have some severe implications for the Mekong Delta and the livelihoods of the local people.

The “Mekong Delta Plan: Long Term Vision and Strategy,” conducted by Vietnam's Natural Resource and Environment Ministry and the Dutch government, indicates that climate is already changing the delta, which ranks among the top five in the world most likely to be severely affected by climate change, according to the report, which was released last December.

Despite limited precise meteorological and hydrological data, trends in temperatures, rainfall and sea levels are noticeable. Together with rising temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns, the sea level is expected to have a huge impact on the physical condition of the Mekong Delta, according to the report.

While climate change alone is harsh enough, the environmental problem in the Mekong Delta is also compounded by hydropower projects upstream. The two factors would amplify hydrological effects and changes in the delta.

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This aerial photo taken on October 12, 2011 shows flooded houses in the southern Mekong delta province of Long An, Vietnam. (AFP)

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