A widespread area of crops and herbal plants in Lai Chau was damaged by the cold (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A strong cold spell wrought havoc on a number of northern mountainous provinces over the past several days.

Suffering from the cold spell since January 24, Dien Bien province experienced incessant rains and frost in the mountainous districts of Tua Chua, Muong Ang, Tuan Giao and Dien Bien Dong. As many as 288 livestock animals were killed by the cold province-wide, data showed.

Meanwhile, 367 livestock animals froze to death in Son La province – mostly in Phu Yen, Sop Cop, Bac Yen and Mai Son districts.

Hundreds of hectares of crops and fruit trees in Moc Chau, Van Ho and Thuan Chau districts were covered with snow and at risk of complete loss, according to the Son La Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Devastating sleet cost Lao Cai province 32 billion VND (over 1.4 million USD) by late January 26, according to the province’s steering board for disaster prevention and search and rescue.

While 354 livestock animals died in the cold, snow engulfed more than 4,470 hectares of crops, flower and herbal plants – 1,300 of which was in Sa Pa district.

By later on January 26, 58 communes of seven districts in Lao Cai recorded 5- to 8cm-deep snow – an unprecedented phenomenon in Lao Cai city and Muong Khuong, Bac Ha, Si Ma Cai and Bat Xat districts.

The cold also killed more than 340 livestock animals and ruined a widespread area of crops and herbal plants in Cao Bang province. Heavy sleet made Thanh Long commune’s clinic collapse and damaged several houses.

Snow up to 30cm deep was reported in Thanh Cong commune, the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said.

The strongest cold wave since the onset of winter also killed more than 500 livestock animals in Lang Son and some 80 others in Lai Chau, the provinces’ agriculture departments said.

Although the wave will abate on January 27, the frigid weather will still be felt through January 28, the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting predicted.-VNA