Extreme cold kills nearly 400 cattle in Vietnam’s Son La Province

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Extreme cold kills nearly 400 cattle in Vietnam’s Son La Province

This photo shows a resident in Sa Pa Town, Lao Cai Province, northern Vietnam, using burning firewood to warm his buffalo calves in bone-chilling cold weather. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Badly affected by an extreme cold air spell that has been covering northern Vietnam, nearly 400 domestic animals have died in Son La Province over the past few days, along with many other animal deaths in the region, local authorities reported.

Among the dead animals were 350 buffaloes and cows and 26 goats, the provincial authorities announced late on Monday afternoon.

The province had been hit by very cold temperatures, as low as 2.7 degrees Celsius in Moc Chau District on Monday, causing heavy damage to many areas, Cao Viet Thinh, head of the provincial Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Local authorities have sent professional teams to many areas to instruct locals in protecting their cattle, including consolidating farms against cold air and providing livestock with more nutritious feed.

The whole province has 1.3 million cattle, 7.3 million poultry, and other animals suffering from the ongoing harmful cold spell.

The same weather pattern was observed in its neighbor Lao Cai Province, where temperatures have dropped to one to three degrees Celsius.

Locals have had to bring their domestic animals to less cold areas to avoid being harmed by the extreme chill.

In such shelter areas, people set up makeshift farms with wooden or bamboo bars to accommodate their cattle during the severe weather conditions.

Trang A Lu, a resident in Trung Chai Commune of Lao Cai’s Sa Pa Town, has taken his five buffaloes to warmer places to help them survive the bone-chilling cold, at two degrees Celsius on Monday morning.

This image shows the top of O Quy Ho Pass that connects Lao Cai and Lai Chau Provinces in northern Vietnam on February 21, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

This image shows the top of O Quy Ho Pass that connects Lao Cai and Lai Chau Provinces in northern Vietnam on February 21, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

“I took them here to both avoid the cold and feed them with grass that has become scarce at the end of winter in many other places,” Lu said.

The man’s cattle are among about 10,000 buffaloes and cows in the town having been moved from high mountainous areas to lower-lying places during the cold spell, according to local statistics.

Such severe cold weather has killed cattle not only in Son La and Lao Cai but also in many other northern provinces, including Ha Giang, Dien Bien, Lang Son, Cao Bang, Yen Bai, and Quang Ninh, among others, according to a report by the National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

By 6:00 pm on Monday, a total of more than 1,010 cattle had died due to the chilling cold in these provinces, the committee said.

The Department of Livestock Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked locals in the affected provinces to follow updated weather notices to proactively take proper steps in protecting their livestock.

It is advisable not to let cattle go outside their shelters or work when the temperature is under 10 degrees Celsius, the department said.

The ongoing cold front is poised to strengthen in the northern and north-central regions on Tuesday night, prolonging the extreme cold weather pattern likely until Thursday, the National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting warned.

Many mountainous areas in these regions will have showers and see their lowest temperatures falling to three to six degrees Celsius, even to under zero, on Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Some areas may have frost and snowy rains, the agency said.

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