Drought declared in 15 provinces

A total of 2,667 villages in 59 districts of 15 provinces have been declared drought disaster zones in need of urgent help, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department chief Chatchai Promlert announced on Thursday.

The 15 provinces are Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Phrae and Tak in the North; Buri Ram, Maha Sarakham, Khon Kaen and Si Sa Ket in the Northeast; Sing Buri, Saraburi and Chai Nat in the Central region; Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi and Prachin Buri in the East; and, Trang in the South.

Mr Chatchai said his department had prepared officials and equipment including water trucks and water pumps to be dispatched to drought-hit areas to provide relief assistance.

He said major reservoirs in the country are now holding a total of 44,950 million cubic metres of water, 64% of their full capacity. Of that, 21,447 million cubic metres of water is available for distribution.

The four reservoirs at Bhumibol, Sirikit, Pasak Jolasid and Kwae Noy Bamrung Daen are now holding 11,930 million cubic metres of water. Only 5,234 million cubic metres is available for distribution for agriculture.

It is necessary for farmers to use water economically, Mr Chatchai said, urging growers to suspend rice planting and turn to short-lived crops which consume little water instead

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