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UK to help build flood resilience in Vietnam

Academics from UK universities will head to Vietnam to help tackle flooding and droughts.

The effects of climate change pose a direct threat to lives and livelihoods of people living in Vietnam, from death and injury to damaged or destroyed homes, businesses, transport links, power supplies and agricultural land.

So academics from the University of Southampton, the University of St Andrews and the University of Bristol will join up with universities in Vietnam to work on projects that help build resilience in the face of these extreme weather conditions.

The projects will be supported by the Newton Fund, a government programme that links the UK up with 17 countries around the world, acting as a bridge between universities who can share scientific knowledge and expertise around environmental issues. It has a total UK government investment of £735m up until 2021.

The projects are expected to kick off later this year and will run for 30 to 36 months. They will also be supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), and the Vietnam National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED).

NERC associate director of research Ned Garnett said: ‘To increase resilience in countries prone to hydrometeorological hazards, we need to gain a better understanding of the likely environmental and social impacts. This programme of research will deliver this understanding enabling the development and implementation of effective adaptation and mitigation measures.

‘For example, helping local communities to design effective flood defences or restore natural defences, such as mangroves.’

In October, Environment Journal spoke to Professor Dan Parsons from the University of Hull who recently returned from Vietnam where he was working alongside academics from Can Tho University on a Newton Fund project aimed at understanding sediment discharge in the Mekong Delta.

The Delta is one of the most agriculturally fertile areas in the world, in part due to the deposition of sediments down the Mekong River over thousands of years.

These sediments have helped make the Delta one of the largest rice producing regions in the world but its ecosystem is under threat due to climate change as well as man-made interventions such as the proliferation of hydropower dams further up the Mekong River and sand mining.

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