Vietnam's Red River falls to 100-year low
HANOI - Water levels in Vietnam's northern Red River have fallen to a 100-year low, stranding large ships and threatening agricultural production, state media reported Saturday quoting Hanoi officials.
Authorities have ordered the dredging of the waterway, which originates in China and runs through the capital, after the river level dropped due to low rainfall and a halt to discharges from upriver hydro-electric dams.
About 20 ships of over 500 tonnes were stranded on the river near Hanoi last week, prompting Vietnam's Inland Waterway Administration to order the dredging of the river this month, the state-run Vietnam News daily reported.
The water level of the river, called Song Hong in Vietnamese, had dropped to 1.1 metres (3.5 feet) in Hanoi, down from almost 1.5 metres at this time last year, Hanoi irrigation department official Tran Ai Quoc was quoted saying. "It is likely agriculture production will also be threatened by the lack of water," he reportedly said. "Widespread drought is forecast for this year."
Agence France Presse - January 6, 2007.