HO CHI MINH CITY, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- About 43,600 Vietnamese households suffered from food shortages in January, eight times higher than the same period last year, Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said Sunday.
Specifically, 179,300 local people suffered from food shortages last month, the ministry said, adding that the central province of Phu Yen had the biggest number of affected people which amounts to 48,800.
In January, Vietnam's relevant sectors and localities offered hungry households 4,100 tons of food and 224 million Vietnamese dong (10,000 U.S. dollars).
The country had 265,500 households which suffered from food shortages in 2016, up 16.7 percent from 2015.
The between-crop hunger surge was attributed to floods, prolonged serious drought and saltwater encroachment in the Central Highlands and the southern Mekong Delta, said the ministry.
By the end of last year, Vietnam had reduced its poor household rate to about 6 percent, said the country's General Statistics Office.
The rate will be around 10 percent if new criteria to define poor households, set for the 2016-2020 period, are applied.