By Hoang Nam  November 10, 2018 | 10:00 am GMT+7 A man piles up sand bags to prevent erosion in the southern coastal Ben Tre Province. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Nam Construction of a coastal canal has been approved by the Ben Tre Province lawmakers to combat salinization and facilitate evacuation during disasters. The decision to build the $38.3 million canal, to be funded by the government, was announced by Truong Duy Hai, Vice Chairman of Ben Tre People’s Council, Wednesday. It will be 40km long and pass through the districts of Binh Dai, Ba Tri and Thanh Phu. It will help reduce salinity in rivers during dry seasons, help evacuate people if required during storms and offer waterway transport to Ho Chi Minh City through Tien Giang Province. A drought in 2016 in the Mekong Delta caused 600,000 people to be without clean water and salinity on 160,000 hectares of land, costing losses of over VND5.5 trillion ($234.5 million). Ben Tre is usually the hardest hit in time of drought and salinity intrusion in the region.