Cold weather closes schools in Vietnam
Jan 11, 2011, 7:48 GMT
Hanoi - Cold weather has prompted hundreds of schools in northern Vietnam to close for the past week, authorities said Tuesday.
Le Thanh Hai, deputy director of the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, said the north of the country was suffering its coldest spell since 2008.
The Ministry of Education last week ordered nurseries and primary schools to close when the temperature falls below 10 degrees Celsius. Secondary schools will close if it drops to 7 degrees Celsius.
On Tuesday, hundreds of schools closed as the temperature in most of northern Vietnam fell below 10 degrees Celsius.
In mountainous areas, including the popular tourist site of Sa Pa, the temperature fell to minus 1 degree Celsius, preventing tourists from leaving their hotels.
Temperatures rarely fall below freezing in Vietnam.
Hospitals were overcrowded as the number of patients, especially the elderly and children, was increasing fast, mostly with respiratory problems, said Vu The Hung, director of Trang An hospital in Hanoi.
Authorities said the low temperatures had killed thousands of cattle.
Electronics and clothes shops said business was brisk, with many people buying heaters and warm clothes, the Cong An newspaper reported. Shops have increased prices by at least 5 per cent.
'If the temperature continues to fall, we will have a big lunar year holiday,' said Nguyen Thu Thuy, a clothes shop keeper in Hanoi's Tho Nhuom Street.
The cold snap started on December 16 and the low temperatures are expected to last for the next 10 days, said Hai.
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