Hanoi offers free, airconditioned shelter from summer heat

By Tat Dinh   July 29, 2019 | 05:24 am PT
Hanoi offers free, airconditioned shelter from summer heat
A site to shelter from the heat at 548 Tran Cung Street, Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dinh.
Hanoi is trialing free relaxation sites for people to take shelter from scorching heat under a German funded project.

The Vietnam Red Cross Society (VNRC) has announced that two such sites, located at 548 Tran Cung Street and 527 Pham Van Dong Street in Bac Tu Liem District, have been functioning since July 20.

The shelters are part of a project funded by the Germany Red Cross Society.

The relaxation sites are located in densely populated areas where people like manual laborers and merchants work outdoors. They provide cold towels, drinks and air-conditioned comfort in addition to volunteers and medical personnel who advise people on avoiding the worst impacts of the hot weather and how to provide first-aid in case of a heat stroke.

Temperatures in the capital during the summer months have been rising steadily through the years, affecting citizens’ health, especially of those who work outdoors, said Nguyen Thu Ha, head of the Disaster Management Department of the VNRC.

"We want them (those who work outdoors) to rest in cool places at noon so they can recover enough to work in the afternoon," said Ha, adding that over 500 people have benefited from the two sites a week after they were opened.

The Vietnam Red Cross Society is considering opening 13 more sites in the capital, as well as similar ones in the central localities of Thanh Hoa, Vinh, Ha Tinh and Da Nang.

It is also planning moving buses that people can relax in and take shelter from the heat, the VNRC said. Volunteers would also help paint and cover people homes with sheets of unspecified material to offer better insulation from the heat, it added.

The trial project would last until mid-September.

Several regions in Vietnam, including Hanoi, have been experiencing prolonged heat waves in recent months. Two people died of heat stroke in the capital city last month, when temperatures reached 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Hanoi has been experiencing temperatures from 31 to 35 degrees Celsius in the past week, according to weather forecast website AccuWeather.

A study published in the Climatic Change journal last September said Southeast Asian nations like the Philippines and Vietnam would be most affected by heat-related mortality along with countries in southern Europe and South America.

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