Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is suffering from its worst drought in nearly a century, and the effects have been devastating . Experts’ claim that the drought is caused in part by this year’s El Niño, one of the worst on record.
El Niño is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, as opposed to La Niña, which is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). An El Niño effects weather patterns around the globe, often with destructive consequences.
NOAA also said that April “was record warm for the month, rounding out one full year of record-breaking monthly temperatures for the globe, the longest such balmy streak in the 137-year record, which dates back to 1880.”
Nguyen Van Tinh, deputy head of the hydraulics department under Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture, told AFP in March that the water level of the Mekong River had gone down to its lowest level since 1926, leading to the worst drought and salinization there.
A Bloomberg report said last month that the drought is also compounding a Southeast Asia water shortage along the 3,000-mile Mekong River that runs from Tibet to Thailand to the South China Sea, as climate change and too many dams erode livelihoods for millions of farmers. Water shortages have also hampered agriculture in nearby Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.