The province released a 2013 to 2015 action plan, earlier this week, to combat climate change as floods could wash away a substantial part of the historical port as sea levels rise and also erosion along the coast clogs up estuaries .

Experts say floods could cause extensive damage by 2020 inundating up to 28% of Hoi An’s historical district, which stands on the coast at the mouth of a river.

Hoi An authorities are already dredging rivers and waterways to speed up water flow to the sea, but the town will need a very extensive flood prevention plan possibly on the scale that UNESCO is sponsoring at Ayutthaya in Thailand.

So far, the province has designed 38 projects to cope with climate change.

Every year,when rainy season arrives, floods from the Thu Bon River threaten the old town of Hoi An where many of the old trading houses are partly submerged.

Hoi An was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999 as an example of a well-preserved trading post that was a port of call for traders from China in 1600s.

UNESCO is developing a flood prevention plan with Ayutthaya province in Thailand that could be used as a model for other heritage destinations to adopt.

By Wanwisa Ngamsangchaikit - TTR Weekly - June 13, 2013