Last update: August 23rd, 2019 at 5:00 pm
The first day of the new year was a sunny one over for Cambodia and much of Vietnam in 2016. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image of the two countries on January 1, 2016.
Cambodia and Vietnam both sit at the southern edge of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. Cambodia fills more than half of the western section, encompassing 181,035 square kilometers (69,898 square miles) from its western border along the Gulf of Thailand. Vietnam is a narrower country which stretches along the South China Sea along the eastern portion of the Indochina peninsula. In this image, cloud covers much of Vietnam.
The Mekong River runs through Cambodia, terminating in the broad Mekong Delta at the tip of Indochina Peninsula. The broad flatlands stretch from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to the coastlands in a broad comma shape. Ho Chi Minh City can be seen as a large, roughly circle-shaped gray smudge on the southeast section of the Peninsula, near the coast.
The Delta is considered to be the “rice bowl” of the region, but it is under stress. According to the Mekong Flows website, funded by the MacArthur Foundation Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the Delta was also once a rich habitat for many fish species, and was very biodiverse. However, the Delta “is now considered one of the top three most threatened deltas in the world from the impacts of climate change, from reduction of Mekong sediment flows and from human land use modification”. Approximately 1.3% of the wetlands remain in semi-natural conditions, and the remaining species are reliant on these patches for survival.