HA NOI (VNS0— Hail swept through the northern mountainous provinces over the last few days, killing one, injuring 43 and battering thousands of homes.
The initial loss estimated was VND270 billion ($12.8 million).
Lao Cai province was hit hardest, with five out of 9 districts destroyed by record-breaking hailstones measuring up to 14 centimetres – the largest ever recorded. Thousands of families were temporarily homeless.
One person was reported dead and more than 10,000 houses were badly damaged.
The Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung instructed provincial leaders to focus on relief efforts on Saturday, such as providing treatment for the injured and repairing the damaged houses.
He also asked the local authorities to monitor the price of essential commodities such as foodstuffs and construction materials to prevent prices from escalating.
On Tuesday night, hail swept through 27 communes in Cao Bang province, leaving two people injured, blowing off roofs of more than 1,100 houses and affecting about 1,300 hectares of vegetables.
The following day in Ha Giang, hail injured four people, demolished three homes and destroyed crops. The losses were estimated to total VND5 billion ($240,000).
This type of extreme weather was dangerous and unpredictable, said meteorological experts. While it could happen anywhere, the northern mountainous provinces were the most vulnerable.
As of now, it was impossible to make accurate predictions of when hailstones would arrive.
These extreme weather events are expected to continue through May. —VNS