The government has approved a plan to use nearly US$12.74 million from the state budget to support provinces whose crops have been hit by severe drought this year.
In a statement, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung ordered the finance ministry to distribute the fund to 19 provinces across the country to help ease the impacts of drought and salinization.
Nearly 60 percent of the money is designated for the central region, which has dried up in the worst drought in more than a decade. The mercury at some places hit 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and the average summer temperature rose to a new high since 1966.
Ninh Thuan Province, possibly the hardest hit in the region, was not in the support list. But it has received financial support from the government and the military.
The Mekong Delta will receive nearly 30 percent of the fund. The country’s rice basket used to enjoy favorable weather conditions but it is going through a historic dry spell due to an intense El Nino period, one of the worst in at least two decades.
Water level recorded in the delta has fallen and for the first time in years, it has not seen monsoon floods. The delta has already suffered salinization as hydropower dams upstream of the Mekong River hold up water.