The coastal zone in the Red River Delta of Vietnam is under large threat due to fluvial flooding, coastal flooding, and coastal erosion. As an important input for ongoing studies that focus on finding an optimal coastal protection strategy for reducing the vulnerability of the coastal region, this paper aims to describe the current situation of the coastal region and assess its present protective measures. In the region, sea dikes have been used as the predominant countermeasure with two intended functions: (i) protecting low-lying areas from coastal flooding and (ii) reducing the risk to the hinterland caused by erosion. However, the sea dikes seem not to function well and are insufficient to withstand dike breaches at the low frequency they are designed for. To have better insight into the actual situation of the whole system, this paper first investigates the historical development of the coastlines in the delta based on available information. Second, hydrodynamic and morphological processes of the coastal and estuarine systems are reviewed and further analysed. An effectiveness assessment of the present protection strategies is subsequently presented. Finally, further research needed to improve the rehabilitation of coastlines and the safety of the region is discussed based on analysis results.
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Vol. 2009 • No. 251