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Drought Plaguing Thailand

April 2, 2010 — Thailand's dry season has arrived much earlier, which in turn, has the northern province of Chiang Rain suffering from a harsh drought.

Farmers in Thailand are potentially facing one of the most severe droughts in decades, mainly because of the Mekong River drying up.

Water levels in the Mekong, Southeast Asia's biggest flowing river, have dropped drastically to a 50 year low.

Thousands of crops have withered and crevices have started to appear in the parched paddies in the Chiangsaen district, where agriculture is the main income source.

Farmers say that rice crops are dying soon after cultivation because there's not enough water to nourish the saplings.

Water is usually pumped from the Kam river to irrigate crops, but water flow has decreased significantly since February--Thailand's cold season.

In previous years, farmers relied on underground water, but costs have increased to a fortune, mainly because fuel is so expensive.

The Kam river irrigates more than 40,000 acres of land between four different districts and now, several sand bars extend across the river.

More than one third of farm lands are suffering severe drought. The situation is so bad that last Friday, the Thai Interior Ministry's Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department declared 53 provinces disaster areas in Thailand due to drought.

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