Icy weather kills 7 Vietnamese, 20,000 livestock

An official and state-controlled media say a cold spell over the past three weeks has killed at least seven people as well as more than 20,000 cows and buffalos.

Hoang Kim Giao, director of the Livestock Breeding Department, says calves made up 70 percent of the livestock that died across 18 northern provinces.

Friday's Vietnam News reported that seven people died, either from the cold or from carbon monoxide poisoning due to coal braziers that people lit to stay warm. Children and the elderly also have swamped hospitals, mostly with respiratory illness.

The cold spell was forecast to last at least two more weeks. Temperatures have plunged as low as 26 Fahrenheit (-3.6 degrees Celsius). The norm for this period is typically around 60 F (15 C).