Farmers in Vietnam's Mekong Delta rice bowl are struggling to survive, as weather patterns and the construction of hydro-electric dams dry up fresh water supplies. Natasha Howitt reports.
The sprawling Mekong Delta is in trouble... and so are the Vietnamese farmers who rely on the river for their livelihood. At least 39 hydro-electric dams are being built upstream, mostly in China to help fuel its industries, and that's taking a hit on the water levels. The hotter and drier weather due to the El Nino weather phenomenon is drying up the water supply as well. The parched land is allowing seawater to seep inland, worsening the situation. Now, crops won't grow and the shrimps are dying. This is bad news for the country's economy, which relies on exports of such commodities. Some farmers are are being forced to take other jobs to pay back loans. Others are selling their land. China has said it will release more water to help Vietnam, and other Southeast Asian countries, lacking water. But the help can't come fast enough to the once-fertile delta.