Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
 
Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - A strong cold spell continues to wreak havoc on the northern and central provinces and the Central Highlands region in Vietnam.

Heavy snowfall began in Sa Pa township in the northern province of Lao Cai on Wednesday, while ice covered the peak of Mau Son Mountain in Lang Son province. The temperature dropped to minus 1.6 degrees Celsius.

According to Lang Son province authorities, the stream of tourists pouring in to witness snow on Mau Son Mountain, a rare sight in a tropical country, has caused temporary jams on the road leading to the mountain and up the mountaintop. The mountain’s tourist management authorities have deployed forces to inspect hygiene in food stalls scattered on the mountains and to ensure tourists’ safety in frosty weather.

On the other hand, chilling weather has caused damage to agricultural production and animal breeding.

Vietnam Television (VTV) reported that the cold spell has so far killed more than 2,000 cattle. Farmers in the mountainous province of Cao Bang were the worst hit, with 670 cattle reportedly dead. This is followed by Lao Cai province (440 cattle), Dien Bien province (400 cattle) and Hoa Binh province (250 cattle).

To confront the situation, the Livestock Production Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has asked local authorities to immediately deploy measures to protect animals from the cold and starvation – reinforcing the barns and maintaining a larger feed storage than usual.

MARD also asked the local authorities to give financial assistance to poor households to reinforce stables and buy feed for animals.

According to Nguyen Hong Son, head of MARD’s Crop Production Department, there has been no exact calculation of the loss to agricultural production so far.

The department recommended farmers strictly follow instructions to care for rice and vegetables in this weather.

Farmers in the Hong (Red) River Delta were asked to delay rice cultivation to avoid losses.

Similarly, farmers in the northern central region were asked to halt rice cultivation for the winter-spring crop and wait until the weather turned warmer.

The department asked farmers who have already planted paddy to cover their fields and ensure sufficient water supply.

Provincial and municipal committees for disaster prevention were asked to provide regular updates on the development of the severe cold on mass media to inform all people, especially people in the mountainous region, of the situation so that they can act accordingly.

Local authorities and school managers were also asked to closely follow weather developments to decide whether to allow kindergarten and primary students to stay at home when the temperatures drop below 10 degrees Celsius, and secondary high school students when temperatures fall below 7 degrees Celsius. - VNA