He made the statement at a meeting with representatives of Mekong Delta localities in My Tho city of Tien Giang province, which sought ways to respond to risks from drought and saltwater intrusion during the 2020-2021 dry season.

He suggested rescue measures not only for residents but also for animals, crops, and fruit trees.

Apart from maintaining production in the new circumstances, it is also necessary to continue with the export of fruit and agro-forestry products such as rice and shrimp, which are major staples of the region, the PM said.

Besides raising public awareness of drought and saltwater intrusion, he ordered that a close eye be kept on weather conditions and water resources, a shift in farming structure be made, and response plans devised.

The PM assigned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to speed up the implementation of major irrigation and water supply projects and the Ministry of Health to guide the localities in monitoring water quality.

General view of the working session. (Photo: VGP)

General view of the working session. (Photo: VGP)

Apart from drought and saltwater intrusion, attention should also be paid to flood prevention, he said, stressing that it is necessary to protect human life and property during flooding.

In the long run, he suggested solutions regarding science-technology, digital applications, and new technologies in the fight, and reviews of water supply plans for the Mekong Delta, especially coastal localities and the Ca Mau peninsula, as well as agricultural production plans.

While in Tien Giang, PM Phuc also made a field trip to farming models in Hiep Duc and Cai Lay communes.

It has been reported that the Mekong Delta experienced record saline intrusion in the 2015-2016 and 2019-2020 dry seasons, seriously affecting local production and daily life.

The region is forecast to see a high level of drought and saltwater intrusion in the upcoming 2020-2021 dry season, with about 5.3-6.1% of its total rice area and 14-23% of its fruit-growing area affected. Some 70,600 local households will also face water shortages.