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Heatwave in north-central Vietnam hits 50-year record

Thursday, July 23, 2020, 14:28 GMT+7
Heatwave in north-central Vietnam hits 50-year record
The reservoir of Hua Na hydropower plant is depleted of water due to prolonged drought in Nghe An Province, Vietnam. Photo: Cuong Ba Tho / Tuoi Tre

North-central Vietnam is experiencing its hottest period in five decades, forcing local residents to make significant adjustments to their lives simply to make ends meet.

A total of six heatwaves, each lasting from five to 14 days, have baked the region since May, the Vietnam Meteorological Hydrological Administration (VMHA) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said at a conference in the north-central province of Nghe An on Wednesday.

The highest temperatures in north-central provinces hovered around 38-40 degrees Celsius, though some areas saw mercury rise above 40 degrees Celsius.

At a weather station in Ha Tinh Province, temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius were recorded for 26 straight days from June 18 to July 13.

This is considered the region’s longest high-temperature period on record since 1971, VMHA stated.

Record-breaking highs were recorded in Do Luong District in Nghe An, Dong Hoi City in Quang Binh, and Ha Tinh.

The region’s rainfall deficit in May and June was between 50 and 80 percent, while Ha Tinh and Quang Binh Provinces went an entire month in June with virtually no precipitation.

Water in local reservoirs is dangerously low, affecting approximately 25,970 hectares of rice paddies.

Water scarcity has also plagued 46,600 households in the region, 30,000 of which are located in Quang Tri Province.

A total of 48 forest fires broke out during this period, damaging 194 hectares of wooded area.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Xuan Cuong requested competent authorities in the region to effectively allocate the remaining water resources at local reservoirs.

The top priority, Cuong said, is to provide sufficient water for 46,600 affected families in the affected areas, as well as for the nearly 26,000 hectares of rice paddies those families depend on for their livelihoods.

Regarding other agricultural activities, local farmers are advised to select varieties of plants and animals that can adapt to low supply of water, as well as apply various scientific measures to best preserve water resources.

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