HÀ NỘI High temperatures have been reported across the country, throwing local life into chaos as the scorching heat of Việt Nam's summer takes hold.
A heatwave hit northwest areas in the north and central provinces over the weekend with average temperatures ranging from 35 to 38 degrees Celsius.
Many areas in northern mountainous regions sweltered under 40 degrees Celsius.
Mường La District in Sơn La Province recorded 42 degrees Celsius while temperatures and nearby areas and Điện Biên Province also broke the 40 degrees Celsius mark.
Temperatures in Hà Nội varied between 35 to 38 degrees Celsius throughout the day, with the 'real feel' in urban areas rising to a near-unbearable 43 to 45 degrees Celsius.
Rain is forecast to engulf areas from the north to the central province of Thanh Hóa from Monday evening.
People in central provinces from Nghệ An to Phú Yên have also been sweating under temperatures ranging from 37 to 40 degrees Celsius in some places.
The National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting forecasts heat in the south would last throughout this week.
HCM City residents were among the worst sufferers, with heat reflected from skyscrapers and concrete roads.
Vietnam Television reported that about 5,000 children with respiratory problems had been treated at the city’s Paediatrics Hospital No.1 over the past two weeks.
The number of patients admitted to Sài Gòn General Hospital also increased compared to last month. Most of the patients were elderly suffering from strokes or infected digestive and respiratory systems due to dehydration.
According to the UK’s Weather Online page, the ultraviolet index in HCM City from April 22 to 25 was forecast to stand at level 12 (the highest), which meant extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure as advised by the World Health Organisation.
The prolonged heatwave and low humidity levels nationwide also posed the risk of fires, especially given high demand for electricity, according to the centre.
People were advised to avoid going out or working outside from 11am to 4pm, drink plenty of water and eat nutritious meals.
Due to abnormal weather conditions with a prolonged dry season and late rainy season, many areas had suffered crop losses.
According to the Irrigation Division in Quảng Trị Province where temperatures surged to 39 degrees Celsius, more than 6,900 ha of rice would suffer from drought during this year’s summer-autumn season due to low levels of rainfall from the end of last year until now.
Rainfall in the province in the first half of this year was forecast to reach just 20-50 per cent of that recorded last year.
A prolonged heatwave in Thừa Thiên-Huế Province had also killed about 57ha of dried rice.
With limited water supplies and continued dry conditions, it was feared about 600ha of the winter-spring rice crop and nearly 70ha of vegetables and farm produce would be lost.
In Bình Phước Province, farmers lacking access to water had invested VNĐ70 million (US$2,900) each on average to drill a well to save their pepper and coffee plantations.
Sa Pa District in the northern mountainous province of Lào Cai, a well-known tourist destination, had also suffered water shortages in recent weeks.
Two of the four main water reservoirs in the area had dried up.
The Sa Pa Water Plant was only able to supply 80 per cent of the demand.
Families, restaurants and hotels owners in Sa Pa had been forced to buy water from suppliers from other localities.
Unless the rains come soon, the tourist spot would face an urgent shortage of domestic water during the coming national holiday this weekend.
Lê Thanh Hải, deputy head of the Meteorological and Hydrological Administration under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper that this year’s summer was predicted to be a hotter year.
Under the impacts of El Nino, temperatures were forecast to be higher than last year.
May and June would see the mercury climb to its peak, with 10 scorching hot days forecast for each month, he said. VNS