Climate change may push more Vietnamese below poverty line

Xinhua

HANOI — Vietnam is among the world’s ten countries most vulnerable to climate change, which threatens to reverse the gains the countries has made in poverty reduction, the local newspaper Youth reported on Monday, citing a new report by Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (Oxfam).

The report was released ten days before the United Nation climate change summit in Poznan in Poland, from December 1 to 12, 2008.

The report “Vietnam: Climate Change, Adaptation and Poor People “, showed that rising sea-levels, torrential rain and flooding, land salinization  and drought were already devastating people’s lives, said Steve Price-Thomas, Oxfam’s Vietnam country director.

The report focuses on two provinces: the southern low-lying province of Ben Tre, in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, and the coastal northern province of Quang Tri, which are historically known as the most vulnerable to flooding in the country.

In the Mekong Delta, where rice is produced to make Vietnam the second biggest rice exporter in the world, some rice farmers can not grow their crops because the water is too salty, partly as the result of climate change. And unpredicted weather means local farmers have less time to grow crops and seeds can be washed away by the heavier rainfall, said the report.

Oxfam is calling for rich countries to lead the way in cutting global emissions by at least 80 percent and committing to funding so that poor communities like those in Vietnam can adapt to climate change.

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