A buffalo is found dead due to the chill in Lao Cai Province
© VNA/VNS A buffalo is found dead due to the chill in Lao Cai Province
The number of farm animals killed in the record-low cold snap since last week rocketed to more than 8,900 - 11 times the figure released two days earlier, agriculture officials said on Wednesday.

Mountainous Son La Province replaced Quang Ninh Province in the previous report to become the hardest-hit locality with 2,756 animals frozen to death. This accounted for 38 per cent of the total.

Dead cattle, goat, horses and pigs were found across seven communes in Son La, one of which was Van Ho Commune, where snow fell for the first time in decades.

The northwestern province of Dien Bien was the second hardest-hit, with 641 out of 7,134 farm animals killed.

The number of animals lost in the freezing weather this year was three times the number recorded in early 2014 (about 2,000). However, it didn't come close to hitting the record 210,000 farm animals killed in 2008, another uncharacteristically cold year.

Son La Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Ha Quyet Nghi told the Phap Luat Viet Nam (Viet Nam Law) newspaper yesterday that the number was not likely to stop there.

"We are still sending officers down to each locality to track down the exact figure," Nghi said.

"After the work is finalised, we will come up with plans to provide support for the affected residents based on state regulations".

Except for Lao Cai Province, which had damages of VND5 billion (US$222,200), there aren't any official records on the estimated losses of other localities caught in the cold spell.

Temperatures in the northern region were expected to rise quickly from yesterday to an average of 10 degrees Celsius. But the Department of Livestock under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development still asked northern provinces to work quickly to protect their animals from the cold and avoid further losses.

Another report by the Central Steering Committee on Disaster Prevention and Rescue on Wednesday evening showed that 10,725ha of paddy fields and vegetables were destroyed in the cold snap, while more than 80,000ha of forest were covered in snow.