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Climate hotspot: sea level rise threatens millions in Mekong Delta rice belt

Ecologist

20th January, 2012

Some 60 million people depend on the Mekong River for their livelihoods but sea level rise and severe weather puts the area at risk, as Gratianne Quade's unique film shows

The Mekong River flows through six countries-originating in the Tibetan Plateau, it runs through Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and finally meets the ocean at the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam.

It irrigates and fertilises the world's biggest rice-exporting fields, provides 20 per cent of the world's freshwater fish-yield, and generates thousands of megawatts of electricity via hydropower dams.

It is estimated that more than 60 million people depend on the river for their livelihood.

Tran Mai Kien PhD, Climate Change Programme Officer, Environment Division, Mekong River Commission says, 'The biggest challenges due to climate change that the Mekong region faces are sea level rise and the changes in weather patterns and the increase of intensity and frequency of natural disasters. And water resources will be a serious problem for the next century'.

According to a study released by the Earth Institute at Columbia University, a one meter sea level rise could displace some 7 million people in the Mekong Delta.

The film was produced by Gratianne Quade

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