Cold sets off wave of illness and death in Vietnam

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Cold weather has claimed four lives in the central region's Quang Nam Province as of Tuesday morning.

The deceased were residents of Tra Cang Commune in the mountainous district Nam Tra My.

A mother named Ho Van Dong, 31, and her new-born baby were listed among the dead in addition to another two-month old baby and Ho Van No, 80, who perished in an open field.

Since the cold snap began last week, many of the commune's children and elderly have come down with respiratory illnesses .

Meanwhile, the nearby Da Nang City Hospital has admitted an unusually high number of patients suffering from heart conditions.

Doctor Pham Van Hung said the number of cardiac patients usually spikes during cold snaps. But, at the moment, patients have packed the hospital, two or more to a bed, he added.

Between 150-200 people arrive every day asking to be examined for respiratory or heart conditions.

The hospital is treating more than 300 children with cold-related illness such as pneumonia. According to Dr. Hung, the hospital has admitted nearly 50 ill newborn babies.

Cattle freeze

On Monday evening, the Department of Husbandry at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced that more than 10,000 cows and buffalos have perished nationwide due to harsh weather conditions.

The northern mountainous province of Cao Bang topped the list with more than 2,260 dead cattle.

Officials in Lang Son reported nearly 2,000 dead, Lao Cai more than 1,400, Son La 1,300 while Ha Giang and Bac Kan both reported 1,000 cows and buffalos dead. The brutal cold has also afflicted cattle herds in central provinces of Quang Nam, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh.

The animals had been grazed by people from ethnic groups outdoors where the harsh conditions have deprived the herds of warmth and food.

Throughout the northern region, high mountainous areas have reported deep freezes. The temperature in Sa Pa was expected to drop from the current -0.5 degrees Celsius to the record low of below -2 degrees Celsius.

Lower mountainous areas have all reported temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius.

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