An icy cold spell, together with hoarfrost and foggy weather, over the past several days has caused the hospitalisation of thousands of children suffering cold-related diseases and severely affected production in the northern region.
HA NOI —
Three more prolonged cold spells were likely to wreak havoc in the north with the lowest temperatures ranging between 0 and 2 degrees Celsius by the lunar New Year, the National Hydro-meteorological Forecast Centre has warned.
Director of Lao Cai Province No1 General Hospital's Planning Department Bui Chi Nam said the prolonged icy weather has sent nearly 200 children, mostly under six-years-old, to the hospital with flu viruses and respiratory and digestive problems over the last ten days.
A report from the Central Pediatrics Hospital in Ha Noi showed that more than 1,300 children were admitted for treatment on average each day for the same diseases. The number of youngsters admitted to Bach Mai and Saint Paul hospitals increased by 20 per cent during this period.
Severe weather also caused a shortage of water for spring crops, especially in border and mountainous areas such as Muong Khuong, Si Ma Cai and Bat Xat Districts in Lao Cai Province.
The province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development deputy director Nguyen Dinh Que said that about 820ha of rice crops withered and half needed to be switched to another crop.
Que said it would take nearly VND9 billion (US$460) to overcome the crisis.
Sa Pa residents were forced to move their livestock to lower areas of Lao Cai City, about 40km away, to avoid the cold front. About 50 buffaloes and cows were reported to have died in Pac Nam District in Bac Can Province.
The price of vegetables and meat also jumped up between 15 and 20 per cent.
Do Thi Vu Quynh, chairperson of Manh Quynh Clean Vegetable Co-operative in Ha Noi's Dong Anh District, said, however, that farmers gained no profit from the price hike as frosty temperatures hindered vegetable growth.
Agricultural authorities from mountainous regions have required that local residents stop grazing livestock during cold days and begin storing food and covering breeding facilities to keep them warm.
Check points were established at main roads in Lang Son Province to seize livestock with diseases. About 166 buffaloes and cows with foot-and-mouth disease were culled. — VNS