Families scramble for relief as summer heat scorches Hanoi

By Vuong Linh   June 3, 2017 | 12:59 pm GMT+7

Many have fled to the countryside as the capital city is set to become a frying pan this weekend. 

A record-setting heat wave of over 40 degrees in Hanoi has disrupted life around the capital city, with some families skipping dinner while others flocking to anywhere with air conditioning. 

Nhung, a resident in Nam Tu Liem District, said nearly 10 people in her family had to squeeze into a 12-square-meter room on Friday night as it's the only one with an AC unit in the house.

“We did not expect the heat would be so terrible in early summer,” the 35-year-old mother and teacher said. “This is really unbearable.”

She said she almost fainted after going out for some errands at 5 p.m. So she has decided to keep her visiting relatives indoors for a couple more days, instead of taking them to parks and museums in the city as previously planned.

Mai, another woman in Hanoi, had to take a taxi home and left her motorbike at the office as she could not drive in the heat.

Her family then skipped dinner. They just ate some fruit and had sugarcane juice.

Temperatures in Hanoi hit a scorching 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit, on Friday, making it one of the hottest days in the city's history. 

The RealFeel temperature on AccuWeather, which indicates how hot it may feel outdoors, was nearly 48 degrees.

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People find shelter in a park in Hanoi amid burning heat. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

The heat wave is forecast to become more intense during the weekend, possibly reaching 42 degrees.

According to official data, temperatures are already one to two degrees Celsius higher than last summer.

The heat has not only disrupted plans but also triggered an exodus. 

A couple in a rooftop apartment has sent their 2-year-old daughter to her grandparents’ in the nearby Ninh Binh Province to escape the heat.

Nam, the father, said the iron roofing traps in all the heat, the fans and AC can't help, and tap water feels like boiling water. He’s afraid that his daughter would get sick if she stayed in the city. 

Many of his neighbors have also evacuated to the countryside for a weekend getaway, hoping things will be better on Monday. 

The heat feels even worse when it is combined with power cuts.

A convenience store in Nam Tu Liem District was loaded with people on Friday night after a blackout hit the neighborhood.