Vietnam Geography and Population

Vietnam – geography

Vietnam – geography, The physical conditions naturally divide the country into different regions. To the north lies the fertile delta of the Red River (Song Hongs), bordered by mountains that separate the lowlands from China and Laos. The Annamite Chain (Annongite Chain, Truong Song) stretches south, where the lowlands become a narrow fringe, and the passage between north and south narrows completely at Hai Van, a high-altitude pass in central Vietnam. South of the pass, the mountain range gradually spreads to a mighty plateau, Tay Nguyen, which is replaced by a lowland with the large, branched delta of the Mekong River.

To the north, the climate is subtropical with fairly cool winters. To the south it is tropical with average temperatures above 25 °C all year round. The SW monsoon causes heavy rain in May-October, and the country is in a hurricane belt, which mainly hits in the SW and to the north. Among other things. in 2000 there were major floods in the Mekong Delta. The inaccessible rainforests of the highlands still contain rare animal species (see Vu Quang ox).

Population. The majority of the ethnically composed population lives in the very densely populated lowlands of the deltas and along the coast. During the Vietnam War, many fled from the war zones, south toward the cities and north out of Hanoi. After the reunification in 1976, relocations of up to DKK 10 million were planned. people; of which approximately 4 million until 1992 moved to so-called new economic zones. Since then, migration has become a more individual matter. Population growth is declining; through the 1990’s from 2.8% to 1.7% per year.

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Industries. About 75% of the population lives in the countryside (2001), and agriculture remains the country’s mainstay. The form of cultivation is very labor intensive and the productivity is low. An increasing proportion of the rural population is employed in small-scale production, trade and service, and migration to the cities is growing.

All infrastructure was destroyed during the war and communication between North and South has been completely inadequate. Roads, railways and ports are now being expanded at a rapid pace, especially after foreign aid grew from 1994. The railway from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City has been restored and is expanding; this also applies to the major highways, first and foremost Highway 1 between north and south. Ports, river ports and airports are also being built, even in remote areas.

Vietnam remains among the poorest countries in Asia, but since the early 1990’s there has been significant economic growth (8% per year on average) and the country is on its way out of the group of the very poorest countries. During the same period, de facto privatization of agriculture took place. From being dominated by rice cultivation, it has increasingly been supplemented with sales crops. At the same time, however, rice production has increased significantly due to improved varieties and increased use of fertilizers. The cultivation is still a very labor-intensive process, where the rice is planted and harvested manually several times a year in the irrigated delta areas. Other important crops are sugar, fruits and vegetables, cassava, cassava, corn and coconut. From 2000, Vietnam became the world’s second largest rice exporter; products such as coffee (Vietnam became the world’s third largest coffee exporter in 2000), peanuts, rubber and tobacco are also sold on the world market.

The forest area has been halved since World War II, and in 1992 the export of timber was banned; however, the ban is not consistently complied with. Fisheries are an important source of income for both local consumption and exports.

During the 1990’s, significant oil production was built up, especially from offshore fields in the South China Sea. The known reserves are quite small (smaller than Denmark’s), but they are utilized at a rapid pace, and crude oil is among the most important export goods (while oil products are imported). Energy is also produced from an increasing number of hydropower plants, and electrification has expanded significantly. The expansion of hydropower has in a number of cases led to the relocation of the local population.

The industry has been of increasing importance after the reforms of 1986 (doi moi renovation) placed more emphasis on the production of consumer goods, and opened up to private enterprises and increasing exports. Foreign investment increased especially from 1990, when Vietnam opened up more relations with the West. International aid increased significantly after the United States recognized Vietnam in 1994. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank, together with donor countries such as Japan, Denmark, Australia, France and Sweden, provide significant assistance.

The employment problem puts constant pressure on societal resources; the workforce is increased by approximately 1 mio. people a year. Around 1990, unemployment rose as the country’s economy was in transition; many returned from studies and work in Eastern Europe, while soldiers in Cambodia returned home. The faster growth in the 1990’s reduced unemployment to 5-6%, but rural underemployment and growth in the informal sector of small-scale production and trade obscure the picture. For culture and traditions of Vietnam, please check animalerts.

Tourism. Since the 1990’s, Vietnam has opened up as a tourist country and the country can offer many sights, beautiful landscapes, historical monuments and good bathing beaches. The main attractions include the highlands in the north with ethnic minorities and beautiful rice terraces, Ha Long Bay with its rare and beautiful rock formations, Huês citadel and imperial tombs, bathing beaches at Nha Trang, the Mekong Delta and the two cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City each with their own distinctive features.. In addition, there are pagodas all over the country, most beautiful in the north. The tourists approaching 2 million. per year, came initially from France and the United States, but now increasingly from China, Taiwan and Japan.