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Snowfall disrupts lives

Update: December, 20/2013 - 08:28
Snow covers all of Sapa Town in Lao Cai Province.— File Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — The lives of residents in northern mountainous provinces have been disrupted due to the continuous heavy snowfall.

In Lao Cai Province alone, an unusual snowfall early this week caused an estimated loss of around VND10 billion (US$470,000), said Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Ma Van Trung.

Rare heavy snows damaged nearly 900ha of vegetables, while 60 buffaloes and cows died due to frost, he said.

Meanwhile, 3,000 sq.m of net housing covering orchids and tomatoes in Sa Pa District were destroyed, and a house was damaged by falling soil and rocks.

Giang Seo Ga, a resident in Sa Pa District, said the snow fell too quickly and continued for a long time, while families had not planned to bring their cattle to lower areas to avoid cold weather and had not yet stored food for them.

"It is now too late. I have lost some buffaloes used for breeding purposes," he said.

Snow also breached an electricity grid along the Highway 4D, causing widespread electricity disruptions in some districts and estimated losses of VND2 billion (US$ 94,760).

Unusual snowfalls have also attracted some 5,000 sightseers to Sa Pa from every corner of the country, causing traffic congestion over the past few days. Thick ice also blocked about a 10km section of Highway 4D linking Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces, though traffic resumed on Wednesday.

Freezing temperatures also forced tens of thousands of pre-school and primary school students in Lao Cai and Lai Chau to stay home.

Director Trung said authorities will provide financial aid for local people to recover from damage caused by the snow and guide them to adopt measures to protect cattle against cold weather.

Also, as cold temperatures dropped to under 10 degrees Celsius in the northern region, many children and elderly residents were hospitalised due to respiratory and cardiovascular-related diseases in recent days, doctors said.

Residents in the northern mountainous province of Cao Bang's Trung Khanh District conduct measures to protect livestock from cold weather. Continuous heavy snowfall has caused serious damages to residents in northern mountainous provinces. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Na

The number of children hospitalised with respiratory problems caused by the cold weather has increased, according to doctor Nguyen Tien Dung, chief of the Ha Noi-based Bach Mai Hospital's Pediatric Department.

"Bach Mai Hospital's Pediatric Ward has been receiving 200-300 children every day, with symptoms such as coughs and high fevers, which is 20 per cent higher than on normal days," he said.

A lack of knowledge by parents, as many parents thought their children were suffering from common illnesses, caused them to be late in seeking treatment for their children, he added.

Meanwhile, the extreme cold has also sent hundreds of elderly people with pulmonary problems to hospitals, said Nguyen Trung Anh, a doctor at the National Geriatric Hospital.

The hospital reported receiving 300-400 elderly patients, which was two to three times higher than normal, he said.

He added that problems reported by elderly residents included respiratory, blood pressure and cardiovascular issues.

Also, doctors warned the elderly not to go out at night or in the early morning during the cold weather and to continue their indoor exercises.

They also warned parents that if their children have symptoms, such as coughs, high fevers, or quickened breathing, they should bring their children to a heathcare centre for check-ups and treatment.

On Monday, temperatures plunged to below 5 degrees Celsius across Lao Cai province. Particularly, the mercury dropped to minus 3 degrees Celsius in Sa Pa, coupled with rain and snow.

Snowfall also started to cover Hoang Lien pass in Lai Chau province beginning last Sunday.

The temperature is forecast to continue dropping to below 2 degrees Celsius in the northern mountainous provinces in the next few days, coupled with hoarfrost, according to the National Hydro-meteorological Forecast Centre. — VNS

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