Nan drought likely to cost Bt60 million

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NAN, March 27 — Severe drought in Thaland’s northern province of Nan will likely cost Bt60 million (nearly US$2 million) in damage, and a number of other provinces also face drought.

Ekkrit Jittangkul, acting chief of the Nan Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office, on Tuesday said that all Nan’s 15 districts were declared drought-stricken disaster areas, saying that the initial losses from the severe drought are estimated at Bt59 million.

The three hardest hit districts are the provincial seat, Pua and Tha Wang Pha.

Currently, some 216,000 residents have insufficient water, Mr Ekkrit said, adding that 140,000 rai (about 55,350 acres) of crops have been damaged as well.

To ease the situation, provincial authorities initially sped up distributing water supplies to the drought-hit residents and dredged ponds.

As a long-term measure, workers will dredge canals and major rivers.

In Phichit, irrigation officials met with farmers from the provincial seat, Pho Prathap Chang and Taphan Hin districts and asked them to not plant off-season rice this year in order to reduce damage from the ongoing drought.

The provincial irrigation office will suspend release water into small tributaries, in April and May.

In the western province of Kanchanaburi, severe drought is affecting Huai Krachao district.

Local authorities sped up distribution of water supplies to residents in 17 villages and coordinated with the Royal Irrigation Department to conduct artificial rainmaking operations to battle the drought.