WFP helps Vietnam upgrade 300 km of sea dyke

Ha Noi, Dec. 8 (VNA) -- About 308 km of sea dyke in Hai Phong city and four northern provinces of Quang Ninh, Thai Binh, Nam Dinh and Ninh Binh have been upgraded under a project assisted by the World Food Programme (WFP).

Starting in January 1996, the project has completed between 76-89 percent of the workload, with 75.6 km of embankment being upgraded, 83 sewers built or repaired, 8.8 million cu.m. of earth removed, and 2,223 ha of trees planted, said reports delivered at a conference to review the project held in Ha Noi on Dec. 7.

The project aims to provide food and create jobs for the poor in areas that are threatened by natural calamity through the upgrading of sea dykes; and its long-term target is to develop production, improve the environment and assist poverty alleviation and rural development programmes.

Under the agreement signed between Viet Nam and the WFP, the project has a total investment of about USD 41.57 million, including 26.6 million funded by the WFP or 64 percent of the total. Viet Nam contributes USD 14.9 million. The project will help strengthen 21 dyke systems in the five localities, including the upgrading of 360 km of dyke and embankment of 87.5 km, building or repairing of 88 sewers, removal of 10 million cu.m. of earth, and planting of 5.5 million sq.m. of grass and 2,580 ha of trees.

The work has helped protect an acreage of 195,000 ha with a population of 1.7 million, expand cultivable acreage by 7,318 ha and an acreage for aquaculture by 3,408 ha. Nearly 420,000 people in 21 districts of the localities were provided with jobs and over 1,200 others with technical skills. Thousands of ha of trees were planted, helping improve the ecological environment in the embanked areas.

This is the last project on sea dyke enforcement in Viet Nam assisted by the WFP with contributions from Denmark, Australia and the Netherlands. A similar project in the central provinces was completed last year.

Ha Noi WFP Director Julian Lefere was presented with a medal for Viet Nam's agriculture and rural development on this occasion.--VNA