48 provinces nationwide declare drought disaster zones

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BANGKOK, 19 April 2013 The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation has declared 48 provinces nationwide drought disaster zones, with 31 of them hardest hit. 

Among the 48 drought-hit provinces are Kalasin, Sukhothai, Tak, Chiang Rai and Ranong. 31 provinces in the North, Northeast and East continue to be gripped by worsening drought, which covers more than 50 percent of the entire province.

Major dams in the country currently hold 37.1 billion cubic meters of water, or 53 percent of the total capacity, which is far less than the same period in 2012. Bhumibol and Sirikit Dams together hold only 9.3 billion cubic meters.

Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk visited Chiang Mai province on April 17 to hold a meeting on the drought crisis in the North. He made known that the government plans to implement a hefty budget to develop and rehabilitate river basins in the North in a bid to seek a long-term solution to extreme weather patterns.