Phisanulok declared disaster zones from drought

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PHISANULOK, Jan 29 – Drought in the lower northern province of Phisanulok has extended, prompting the province to declare two districts as the disaster zones.

More than 100 villages in two districts -Chat Trakan and Nakhon Thai – in mountainous areas outside the irrigation zone – have been affected, according to local disaster prevention and mitigation official Boonyong Kumsuphan.

An ad hoc directive centre has been set up in nine districts to solve the problem. Moreover, three other districts – Noen Maprang, Wang Thong and Wat Bot – have been closely monitored. Farmers in Nakhon Thai district have switched to growing corn for animal feed instead of off-season rice, as corn can be harvested in a shorter period of 90 days, needs less water, and has lower risk of insect-borne diseases.

Meanwhile, Tak province is also facing drought, as water in the Moei River flowing between Thailand and Myanmar has decreased continuously.

Tewarit Pankaew, chief of Huay Muang Village in Mae Sot district, said the shallow river obstructed transportation in the area which hosts nearly 20 ports.

He added this year’s drought has come sooner than usual and port operators addressed the problem at hand by ordering sand dredged out to a level deep enough to allow cargo boat passage.

Mr Tewarit said that though such methods delay transportation times to Myanmar, it is better that leaving products behind at the ports.

Apart from cargo boats, the village chief added that long-tailed passenger boats are also unable to continue their service due to shallow waters.