Trucks, water points to feed 16 provinces
Water distribution points are up and running with water trucks dispatched across more than 4,000 villages in 16 provinces declared drought emergency zones, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.
A total of 4,117 villages in 80 districts in the North, Northeast, the Central Plains and West are facing severe water shortages, prompting authorities to set up bottle-filling stations and deliveries to residents in remote areas.
Monton Sudprasert, director-general of the department, said the crisis has spurred authorities to find ways to ensure people get easy access to water.
The department was also updating its list of water sources and artesian wells to give the authorities a clear picture of where they can fetch water to allocate to residents.
The 16 provinces affected by the drought are Chiang Rai, Nan, Phetchabun and Uttaradit in the North; Nakhon Phanom, Maha Sarakham, Bung Kan, Nong Khai, Buri Ram, Kalasin and Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast; and Kanchanaburi, Chachoengsao, Uthai Thani, Chai Nat and Nakhon Sawan in the western and the Central Plains.
According to the department, soldiers and local administrative organisations are mounting urgent relief operations to get water to drought-ravaged areas, mostly in outlying districts.
Authorities were also surveying sources of water for households, non-household use and farming.
Mr Monton said a campaign urging households to use water sparingly was also underway. Farmers meanwhile are advised to adopt water-saving methods in irrigating their farms while the department has opened a drought-alleviation hotline.
Peerapong Muangboonchoo, chief of Armed Forces Development Command, said soldiers will be deployed to pump underground water from 524 sources throughout the country, 85 of which are situated in Maha Sarakham where the drought is dire in many villages.