|Small traders at Long Bien wholesale market in Ha Noi warm themselves up with a heater. — VNS Photo Viet Thanh
HA NOI (VNS) — Authorities urged financial support be provided to farmers affected by the last historic cold spell before yesterday's chilly northern weather, 11 degrees Celsius in Ha Noi, damaged their businesses further.
A report by the Office of the Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Rescue showed that recent chilly weather killed nearly 57,272 farming livestock, of which poultry accounted for about 77 per cent.
More than 800ha of fish farms and another 35ha of aquaculture products were damaged in the cold snap, costing farmers thousands of tonnes of fish as temperatures plunged to below six degrees Celsius early last week.
The Office also reported that nearly 30,000ha of paddy fields and vegetables were destroyed by the cold.
Nghe An Province was the hardest-hit locality in terms of total damage, with more than 40,000 poultry killed in the province and 6,697ha of paddy fields ruined in the strongest cold snap to hit the country in the last two decades.
While urging the Government provide support to the affected farmers, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Cao Duc Phat proposed that banks temporarily delay loan payment deadlines for farmers.
Many Vietnamese farmers used loans to buy livestock or seeds, which put many at risk of bankruptcy as the record cold snap gripped the northern half of the country and caused devastating losses.
The banking system, meanwhile, was requested by the Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to make more loans accessible to the affected farmers in order to help them resume production quickly.
The PM in a regular Government meeting on Friday also asked the Ministry of Finance to urgently distribute relief funds to affected provinces.
Fears of another cold snap were raised when the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting announced more cold weather would yesterday hit the northern region and last until Sunday February 7th.
Temperatures in the delta areas are predicted to drop to about 10 degrees Celsius and to as low as two in the mountainous areas today and tomorrow where most of the cattle losses were reported in the previous cold snap.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development asked its local departments to come up with measures to help residents protect their animals and crops from the cold. — VNS