VietNamNet Bridge – In several days, the number of dead cattle in northern Vietnam has rocketed. By January 12, nearly 4400 buffaloes and cows were dead, up by nearly 2000 heads over January 11.
According to the Animal Husbandry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Son La province suffered the highest loss, with 1300 heads, followed by Lao Cai with over 800 heads.
The department chief Hoang Kim Giao took a field trip to some northern mountain districts on January 13. Giao said that though northern provinces have timely implemented measures to protect cattle from the chill, the number of dead cattle still keeps rising. He said if the cold weather continues, the damage will be huge.
Harsh weather also causes the break-out of foot-and-mouth disease. In Ha Giang province, more than 200 buffalos and cows have been infected and dozens are dead.
Cold spell also threatens thousands of hectares of winter-spring rice crop in northern Vietnam. Farmers have to cover rice fields with plastic sheets. Some provinces have asked farmers to stop seeding rice.
A cold spell has hit northern Vietnam since early January 2011 and it is forecast to last until January 21. Its damage is only behind the historical chill in 2008, which last for 38 days, killing up to 52,000 cattle heads, 150,000 hectares of rice, totaling VND400 billion (over $20 million) of losses.