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This photo essay was submitted by Richard Friend, Senior Staff Scientist of ISET-International.

In the Mekong Sub-Region, the relationship between water and cities has quickly become strained. These waters are a source of food, transportation and basic needs of life, but also a source of vulnerability as they become heavily polluted and refashioned due to city expansion. Through Richard’s involvement with the Mekong-BRACE and ACCCRN projects, he is able to share his unique perspective of these threats and vulnerabilities with us here.

Much of the effects of climate change in the Mekong Region will be felt through water – at different times too much, too little or of poor quality, with the additional threat of severe storms and sea level rise in coastal areas. As the Mekong region urbanizes rapidly, much of this growth in cities will be along the coasts, deltas, floodplains and river systems that are already vulnerable to climate related hazards. With higher concentrations of people in these areas the risks of climate change become all the greater.

Fish and aquatic animals constitute a critical part of diets in the Mekong, providing animal protein. As cities expand, natural water bodies are encroached on and refashioned, putting extra pressure on these precious resources

As a storm approaches in Hue, traffic crosses a barrage across the lagoon that also acts as a flood defense. As the impacts of climate change intensify, the future viability of such infrastructure is coming under renewed scrutiny

As the sun sets on the Mekong River in Northern Cambodia, local people take an evening bath

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