An icy cold snap accompanied with hoar-frost and foggy weather over the past several days has caused the sudden hospitalization of thousands of children suffering cold-related diseases and wreaked havoc on production in the northern region.

The Central Pediatrics Hospital in Hanoi reported that more than 1,300 children were admitted for treatment for the same diseases each day on average.

The number of youngsters admitted to Bach Mai and Saint Paul hospitals increased by 20 percent during the period.

Lao Cai, Ha Giang and Cao Bang province have reported deaths of buffalos and cows due to diseases caused by severe weather.
The 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 provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development deputy director Nguyen Dinh Que said about 820 ha of rice crops withered and haft needed to be switched to another crop.

This cold spell was forecast to prolong with the lowest temperature going down to 10 degrees Celsius in the delta region and 6-4 degree Celsius in mountainous areas.

Three more prolonged cold spells were likely to hit the north with the lowest temperature ranging between 0 and 2 degrees Celsius by the lunar New Year, according to the National Hydro-meteorological Forecast Centre.

Administrative and agricultural authorities in many mountainous localities have asked local residents to stop grazing livestock during cold days and begin storing food and covering breeding facilities to keep them warm to mimimise damages they may suffer.

Hanoi ’s educational and training department has instructed schools to allow primary and junior students to stay at home when the temperature going down below 10 and 7 degrees Celsius, respectively./.