“Never before have we experienced such hot weather. My house feels like an oven, everything I touch feels burning hot,” said Nguyen Cong Duc, 70, a resident of Huong Khe District in the central province of Ha Tinh.
Duc said that Huong Khe District has always been one of the hottest spots in the central area of Vietnam, but the extreme weather has caused chaos in the routine of Duc and his family.
Duc cannot sleep at night. He has to go outside and sit under a tree’s shade. The family still have their daily meals, but they are unable to eat much due to dehydration. They have resorted to having bean soup to reduce the heat inside their body.
Duc has bought a misting fan to try to condition the air, but it is of no use against the heat. He finally had to install an air-conditioner in the bedroom, despite the recent rise in electricity costs in Vietnam.
Nguyen Cong Duc places an insulation sheet on the ground in a bid to reduce heat absorption in his front yard. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung
The district is always the hottest place in Ha Tinh because it is affected by the Foehn wind from Laos, Duc explained. “But I have never seen such hot weather before. I have been able to stand the hot weather until now, but for the last one week it has become unbearable.”
Nguyen Thi Man is in the same boat. No one in her family had been able to sleep properly in the last few days.
“Every morning I wake up at around 2 a.m. and when I look at my children, they are all sweating. The electric fans work at full capacity, but it only blows hot wind on us,” she said.
Man’s work schedule has been overturned by the harsh weather
“At about 4 a.m., the weather gets more pleasant so the children start to sleep well. That is when we have to leave the house to work to avoid the sun, and work until 8 a.m.,” said Man.
The extreme weather has made it all but impossible for Tran Thi Tam’s one year old son to sleep and eat. She can’t afford to install an air conditioner, so before going to bed she places a bucket of water in front of the electric fan to get the cooling steam. Her family members use mats to sleep on the floor.
The heat has also drained water sources, leading to difficulties in farming and daily life.
“The wells of many households in the commune have dried up, so we have to carry water (from far away) to use for daily activities,” said Tam. “Without water for the last farming season, many people have given up planting rice.”
The fruit gardens in the area also show signs of distress, greatly worrying local farmers. For the last one week, farmers in Phuc Trach and Huong Do communes have been waking up at 3 a.m. to water their plants to avoid the blazing sun.
Many rice fields in Huong Khe District have dried up and cracked without any irrigation. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung
“If the hot weather continues, my family’s pomelo garden will lose the crop because of its poor tolerance against drought,” said a local resident.
Le Quang Vinh, head of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department in Huong Khe District, said the government has instructed local people on how to prevent drought for plants and crops, warned that people should not go out to avoid thermal shocks and be alert to fire risks.
“Last April, the temperature reached 43.4 degrees Celsius in Huong Khe District,” Vinh said. “This period of hot weather in June is approximately the same.”
The hot spell in the northwest area, northern delta and central provinces started June 4 and will last until June 13, weather experts have said. It could be prolonged in central Vietnam. In Ha Tinh Province, the mercury has stayed high at 38 to 40 degrees Celsius for many days now.