Sleet, frost cause $1.65-mil worth of damage in northern Vietnam province

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A border guard soldier (L) helps a local in Bat Xat District, Lao Cai Province, keep cattle warm and feed them PHOTO COURTESY OF LAO CAI NEWSPAPER

Sleet and frost this month have cost the mountainous province of Lao Cai more than VND35 billion (US$1.65 million) in loss of crops and livestock.

Bat Xat District reported losses of around VND16.3 billion and Sa Pa District, VND18.9 billion, local newspaper Lao Cai reported Sunday.

As of last Saturday 207 bulls, cows, and horses in the province had died of the cold, 76 in Bat Xat and 131 in Sa Pa.

More than 750 hectares of vegetables and other crops in Bat Xat were damaged, including 646 hectares of cardamom which were buried under the snow.

Electric poles were felled and broken, but have since been fixed.

In Sa Pa, 80 hectares of chayote trees, five hectares of artichoke, and 20,000 pots of chrysanthemum were damaged and 3,100 square meters of greenhouse with flowers and tomatoes collapsed.

Electric poles along Highway 4D too fell and caused power outages in many areas.

Experts warn that livestock deaths will continue to increase since after the sleet and cold many bulls and cows will have frostbite and cannot walk, their resistance will weaken, and they will stop eating.

The Lao Cai people's committee has urged officials and residents to continue to take measures to protect plants and animals from the cold.

Authorities in mountain communes and border guards are helping people remove snow from roofs, save the remaining crops, and bring their cattle to lower areas and protect them from the cold, Vietnam News Agency reported.

Luu Minh Hai, director of the Lao Cai met office, said the snow came earlier, was heavier, and caused more damage to larger areas than ever before.

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