Drought continues in Northeast


BANGKOK, 4 April 2013Thailand’s Northeast remains mired in a drought crisis as water sources are drying up, affecting farmers and livestock. 

In Surin province, local authorities have declared 16 districts drought disaster zones. The province, known for its elephant camps and elephant study centers, is acutely experiencing water shortages. Zoological Park Organization units were forced to deliver rounds of water supplies daily to sustain elephant herds through the crisis.

Water supply is running extremely low as the region’s major river, the Mun (มูล) River, is rapidly drying up. Locals have said that the worst drought in 10 years is threatening their daily livelihoods.

Meanwhile, in Buriram, the provincial irrigation office stated that the province’s major reservoir currently holds 7.4 million cubic meters of water, or only 28 percent of the total capacity. The agency predicts that Buriram will only have adequate water for use until June. Authorities have been using water pumps to divert water from nearby reservoirs in a bid to tackle water shortages.

The weather bureau predicts that a tropical storm will strike the Northeast again during April 6-8. So far rainstorms did little to relieve drought conditions and instead damaged homes and schools in the drought-hit region.