Vietnam's 'rice bowl' cracks in monster heat wave

World Wednesday 28/February/2024 20:27 PM
Vietnam's 'rice bowl' cracks in monster heat wave

Hanoi: Southern Vietnam, including business hub Ho Chi Minh City and its "rice bowl" Mekong Delta region, suffered an unusually long heat wave in February, weather officials said on Wednesday.

Several areas of the delta are also suffering drought and farmers are struggling to transport their crops due to low water levels in the region's canals.

The intense period of heat began on 9 February 2024 with temperatures reaching up to 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit)—an "abnormal" high for February in southern Vietnam, which usually sees hot weather peak at around 39C (102F) in April or May.

Globally, 2023 was the warmest year on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

It warned last month that this year could be even hotter because the naturally occurring El Niño climate pattern, which emerged in mid-2023, usually increases global temperatures for one year afterwards.

Scientists have warned extreme weather is also being intensified by global warming.

Vietnam's agricultural production heavily depends on rainwater, making farmers resort to pumping water from waterways due to its scarcity, this has resulted in significant height differences between riverside road surfaces and water levels, leading to subsidence and landslides, as reported by local authorities.