Samstag, März 12, 2005

DROUGHT IN CHIANG MAI

"Ten disaster zones declared

Chiang Mai _ Eight districts and two subdistricts in the province have been declared disaster zones as this year's severe drought has inflicted hardship on more than 77,000 villagers and damaged over 25,000 rai of farmland.

Pattrawan Sadudee, chief of the provincial disaster prevention and mitigation office, said Hot, Chom Thong, Omkoi, Samoeng, Doi Saket, Mae Ai, Mae Chaem, and Mae Rim districts and Mae O and Doi Lo subdistricts, have been declared disaster zones.

The drought has affected 77,505 people from 17,674 families in 369 villages and damaged 18,017 rai of rice fields and 7,467 rai of crop plantations and orchards.

Provincial authorities initially approved a one-million-baht budget for Phrao and Doi Saket districts to help affected people, told other districts to use local bodies' water supplies first, and were sending water trucks to troubled areas and arranging to dig for more wells, she said.

The province could ask for an additional emergency budget if necessary since the government had set aside a 50-million-baht disaster relief budget for every province, she said.

The drought-hit farmland comprises mostly longan and tangerine orchards along with corn plantations.

Part of the Ping river at Ban Tha Look, Chom Thong district, has dried up until the river bed is now visible. Part of the Chaem river in Chom Thong and Hot districts has also dried up.

Kong Uttama, a fish farmer, said rain seeding was needed as Ping river water levels have been decreasing rapidly and would likely fall even further next month. "