Drought damage disaster initially estimated at 10 billion baht

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Bangkok – The latest estimate from the University of Thai Chambers of Commerce (UTCC) shows the drought disaster this year has affected some 1,330 square kilometers of farmland, most of which is rice farms, with initial damage estimated at about 10 billion baht.

The UTCC compiled information from agricultural government agencies and private firms with 109 data samples nationwide. The survey has concluded that the agricultural sector in the northern and northeastern regions has been affected the most.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation has recently lifted the disaster affected area status in most places, leaving only one province remaining, which is expected to help alleviate the crisis thanks to the government’s water management and rainmaking operations. However, the center expects the damage to reach 18 billion baht should the crisis continue for another month.

The overall damage is expected to escalate to 37 billion baht should the drought extend through September, as the wet season rice cultivation cycle would be affected and that would lower expected Thai economic growth to 2.9 percent from 3 percent.