By Prasit Tangprasert
A source at the Nakhon Ratchasima Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office said the drought had affected 650,581 residents or 370,968 households and caused damages to crops on 2,844,292 rai (455,087 hectares) of farmland in 2,481 villages of 203 tambon in 26 districts.
Among these 26 districts, 2,278 villages of 159 tambon in 20 districts were deemed as worst-hit and were declared the emergency disaster zones, the source said.
Though farmers were growing crops on 5,727,185 rai of farmland (3,271,354 rai of rice paddies, 482,668 rai of maize, 1,280,042 rai of tapioca and 693,121 rai of sugarcane), a total of 2,059,298 rai so far had been damaged including 1,595,731 rai of rice paddies, 231,284 rai of maize, 42,562 rai of tapioca and 53,100 rai of sugarcane.
Nakhon Ratchasima governor Wichien Chantaranothai instructed the provincial and district-level agriculture offices to survey the crop damages, in order to trigger the emergency budget and provide remedial measures to drought-affected people.
Among those in need of aid were residents of 64 villages of 39 tambon in 15 districts whose tap water systems had already dried up and were in need of an alternative supply of water.
Three waterworks offices – the Phimai Waterworks Office in charge of Phimai, Huai Thalaeng and Khon districts; the Dan Khun Thot Waterworks Office in charge of Dan Khun Thot district and the Non Sung Waterworks Office in charge of Non Sung district – are now suffering a shortage of raw water that would be turned into tap water and so pipes were linked with the Royal Irrigation Department’s high-power pumps to pull water from sources to feed them.
Other waterworks offices, such as Pak Chong, Khon Buri, Pak Thong Chai and Chok Chai districts, still have raw water available from sources that could last beyond 100 days, the source said.