Deforestation, construction to blame for central Vietnam landslides

Source(s)
VnExpress International

By Gia Chinh

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Trinh Xuan Hoa, deputy head of the Vietnam Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources under the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, said deforestation and construction, among other factors, were to blame for triggering landslides in central Vietnam.

"Human activities including deforestation and road construction, etc. have hastened geological changes in the area. Leveling mountains and destroying taluses for construction destabilize the terrain, create steeper slopes and sacrifice local vegetation. This fuels the risk of erosion and landslides," he said, adding erosion occurred mainly on mountain slopes, in residential areas or along roads and other man-made structures.

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Central Vietnam's steep elevation toward the sea, dotted by sparse plantations, along with complex geological features like thick weathering layers, heighten the risk of erosion and landslides. Man-made forests mostly comprising the Acacia genus and routinely replanted after several fellings, make for weakened soil cohesion and underdeveloped root systems, thus impeding efficient water retention, Hoa noted.

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Local authorities should also create safe zones for evacuation purposes during natural disasters, while prioritizing forest protection, especially in upstream regions and erosion-prone areas, he stressed.

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