Two northern provinces declared disaster zones from drought


CHIANG RAI, Feb 23 – Two northern provinces of Chiang Rai and Uttaradit have been declared disaster zones affected by drought, as locals are facing water shortages and crops have been damaged.

Thanin Supasaen, Chiang Rai governor declared all 18 districts disaster zones. The drought is likely to be worse than last year and last for two months.

Chatetha Mosikkarat, head of the Chiang Rai disaster prevention and mitigation office said the drought situation has been aggravated with many rivers having dried up.

More than 120,000 rais (48,000 acres) of rice paddy and crops have been damaged and more than 78,000 families have been affected by lack of water, particularly people in Wiang Kaen district.

Local authorities have distributed water to people in drought-hit areas.

In Uttaradit, Surachai Thatchakawin, a local official of the disaster prevention and mitigation office said that the drought extended to nine districts and the province has been declared a disaster zone.

Local residents, particularly those living outside the irrigation zones, are facing water shortages for household consumption and farming.

Although the Sirikit dam released the as much as 49 million cubic metres of water per day in line with flood prevention measure, it only benefitted people in the irrigation system zone and those living along the Nan River.

About 20,000 households in 389 villages of nine districts have been affected by drought. Yothin Sumutkhiri, Uttaradit governor approved a budget of 18 million baht to help people in nine districts. Trucks have carried water for distribution to drought-stricken areas every day.