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Drought and COVID-19 – A double crisis in the Mekong Delta region

date_range2020-04-07

While Vietnam successfully battles to keep the COVID19 pandemic away from its people, the economic consequences are being felt hard.

Since the last few months of 2019, severe drought and saltwater intrusion have begun to significantly affect the 22 million people living across the Mekong Delta region. As land become too saline to grow rice or vegetables, people in some areas now have only shrimp and salt crops to support themselves.

Water is scarce for many who already relied on rainwater for drinking and washing, and long journeys for limited water are common.

COVID19 has increased the need for water for handwashing and hygiene, but movement resrictions which ensure Vietnam protects public health are adding another daily challenge for many families.

Worse still, COVID19 restrictions mean that millions of people now cannot work or have reduced income.

Seasonal weather forecasts indicate that the severity of drought and saltwater intrusion conditions will continue to increase, peaking by May 2020.

Nobody knows what Vietnam’s health situation will be by then, but even if infections remain low, the people of the Mekong Delta will still be deep into their struggles for survival.

For the millions of children of the Mekong Delta, drought and saltwater intrusion already threatened their health and security, limiting their hopes for the future. Saigonchildren supports thousands of the most at-risk children to stay in school and protects them from the need to labour in the fields or factories to support their families.

As the effects of COVID19 ripple through the world, it is the poorest who gave the greatest risks and need our help most urgently.

We are providing help packages to those in need, targeting the urgent needs of families to provide safety and stability so they can not only overcome today’s struggles, but also have hope for the future.

Each child holds their family’s future health and prosperity in their young hands, and with the right education and support, we can ensure these kids have the strength and the opportunity to lift their families from poverty.

Your donations can change lives today and for generations: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/saigon-childrens-charity/covid-19-emergency-support-fund

 

Damien Roberts

Executive Director – Saigon Children’s Charity

 

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