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Due to Climate Change, 17% of Saigon Will Be Completely Submerged by 2100

The effects of climate change mean that in less than 80 years, 86.7% of Binh Thanh District will be underwater, while 26.6% of District 2 and 34.5% of Hoc Mon will be permanently flooded.

The dire statistics were released yesterday at an event presented by the Association for Safe Water and Environmental Sanitation coordinated with the Environment and Life magazine. The figures confirm what most people probably already assume based on the season's massive flooding in those areas.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, in the scenario that sea level rises one meter in 2100, 17% of Saigon's total area will be submerged while most low-lying areas like Binh Thanh, Hoc Mon and District 2 will be severely affected.

In addition to climate change's role in rising sea levels, rapid urbanization and the ensuing failures to create proper drainage amidst wayward water extraction have created the issue, which has only worsened since it first appeared in the 1990s. Essentially built upon a swamp, many of the newer districts are unsuited for large populations or developments.

Saigon's current responses to the floods (when they even admit to them) have been wholly inadequate, according to experts. Ngo Viet Nam Son, an architect specializing in master plans explained: "Preventing flooding requires a comprehensive, multidisciplinary strategy; but the city has been doing it sporadically and has stopped at coping with flooding rather than tackling it once and for all."

This spring, a financing fiasco halted construction on a US$440 million drainage system that would have impacted 6.5 million of the city's residents. Similarly, construction on two drainage systems for Tan Son Nhat airport have also come to a standstill. To control floods this year, authorities have resorted to a slapdash system of pumps. The city says it will rely on two anti-flood plans which will construct 12 floodgates and 170 kilometers of embankment and 6,000 kilometers of water drains by 2020. Resoivores and manmade lakes have also being prepared. 

Hardly unique to Saigon, as one of the top ten nations affected by climate change, numerous parts of the country are facing disastrous flooding. In the Mekong Delta, harsh weather conditions are triggering a migrant crisis while in northern provinces inadequate prevention and responses to rainwater have caused significant damage. 

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