Heat spell disrupts normal life in north, central Vietnam

TN News

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Record high temperatures over the past week in the north and central regions have made life difficult for citizens of all ages with increased power cuts, heat-related sicknesses and other disruptions.

Meteorologists have warned that the hot spell is likely to linger for a few more days.

The oppressive heat has been exacerbated by regular power cuts as reservoirs dry up.

The National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting said temperatures have increased significantly to between 35-39 degrees Celsius (95-102 degrees Fahrenheit) in many places in the north and central regions.

"Hanoi experienced the highest temperatures since 2003 and it was the highest ever temperatures in Thanh Hoa Province," said the agency's director Bui Minh Tang.

He said hot and dry westerly winds, combined with low humidity of below 40 percent have disrupted normal life and caused health problems.

Tang also said the hot spell is expected to end in the next three or four days with heavy rains to lower temperatures by between five and nine degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, several hospitals have reported an increase of patients being examined and admitted for respiratory and digestive diseases.

Dr. Vu Quy Hop of the National Children Hospital said there has been an increase in the number of children patients being examined or admitted to the facility recently.

Up to 2,200 children were being examined at the hospital per day and most of them have respiratory and digestive problems, he said.

The Saint Paul Hospital also reported a 30 percent increase in the number of children being examined at the hospital. Around 60 percent of them come with high temperatures and cough, said Dr. Hong Minh Thu of the hospital's diagnosis section.

At the Vietnam National Institute of Genrontology, the number of elderly patients being admitted with cardiovascular problems has doubled during the hot spell.

The hot spell also ignited a forest fire in the central province of Ha Tinh on June 15. The fire was first detected at the Mong Ga Pine Forest in Huong Son District and soon spread to a nearby forest in Vu Quang District before it was put out the same day.

Many residents in the capital city have had to do without power for long periods, making the high temperatures very difficult to deal with.

The Hanoi Power Company said they have had to cut power regularly in 17 of 29 districts due to a supply shortage as power lines were upgraded and equipment broke down due to the high temperatures.

Nguyen Duc Hieu of Hanoi's Tu Liem District said it was the first time he has experienced such regular blackouts. "Residents and companies operating generators on sidewalks have contributed further to the chaos of the hot spell," he said.

Many enterprises have also complained of losses due to power cuts.

The Rang Dong Joint Stock Company in Thanh Xuan District said it has suffered significant losses because it had to pay salaries to around 3,000 workers for the blackout days.

With limited capacity of their generators, the Dong Luc Company, said it was having to operate just a small section during days they received no power.

Vu Quang Hung, director of Hanoi Power Company, said they have avoided cutting power supply during peak demand times. He also said the blackouts should end soon and the company would try its best to avoid power cuts without prior notice.

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