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Homeopathy ‘doctor’ forced to back down on Dengue-cure claims

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Homeopathy ‘doctor’ forced to back down on Dengue-cure claims | The Thaiger

The Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine has been forced to backtrack from its un-researched claims that its homeopathic formula is highly effective for dengue-fever protection.

“It’s just a supplementary measure that needs further research,” Dr Sunpong Ritthiruksa admitted in his capacity as the chair of the department’s centre for herbal medicine, Thai traditional medicine, folk medicine and alternative medicine.

He was forced to speak up after several prominent lecturers and health professionals called him out over the claim. Sunpong  said last Friday that a homeopathic formula made from eupatorium perfoliatum 200C had been proved effective in preventing dengue fever. His agency is now handing out it for free.

“It’s 89.9 per cent effective,” as he cited findings from a journal.

Chulalongkorn University’s lecturer Jessada Denduangboripant argued that homeopathy was pseudoscience and was something that the Public Health Ministry should not promote.

“The promotion can be dangerous,” he warned.

Dengue fever has hit more than 28,000 people in Thailand so far this year – up by 1.7 times from the same period a year earlier. Of them, 43 died.

Sunpong continued his back-tracking yesterday. He reiterated that to prevent dengue-fever infections, people still needed to focus on measures such as changing the water in flower vases weekly, keeping their home tidy, eliminating mosquito-breeding grounds and covering water containers.

“I am worried that people may misunderstand what I said earlier,” Sunpong said.

He then clarified that eupatorium perfoliatum 200C was not for treating dengue fever, contrary to the baseless claims he had made just three days before.

Statistics compiled by the Disease Control Department show the number of dengue fever patients this year is far higher than the number five years ago. As of June 11 this year, dengue fever hit 28,785 people in Thailand. During the same period in 2014, the number stood at 10,670.

SOURCE: The Nation



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Environment

Mekong River drops to lowest level in a century around Thai, Lao, Myanmar border

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Mekong River drops to lowest level in a century around Thai, Lao, Myanmar border | The Thaiger

Water levels in the Mekong River are now at the lowest point in a century as of July 19, lower than a record set in April 1973.

South East Asia’s Stimson Centre claims that, based on recent satellite images, the drastic lowering of the water level in the river has exposed many islets and sandbars adding. The Centre’s report refers mainly to the river as it passes through the ‘Golden Triangle’ where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet.

The report says that “this could be a new normal for the Mekong River, due to flow regulation by upstream dams and climate change, resulting in prolonged periods of drought.”

The Mekong’s current water levels, at a historic low, are significant particularly because it’s the middle of the wet season, when there should have been plenty of water and flooding in some areas.

In Thailand’s Nong Khai province, opposite Vientiane on the Laos border, the provincial waterworks authority suspended water treatment temporarily on Wednesday because its water pumps could not draw water from the river.

Northern Thailand residents and officials are blaming the low water levels on the obstruction of Mekong tributaries in Laos, at the site of the Xayaburi hydroelectric dam, as it test runs its power generators up to July 29. The dam is scheduled to come on line in October.

Several of Thailand’s northeastern provinces are experiencing water shortages, despite the onset of the rainy season, with their sources of tap water rapidly drying up.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

Mekong River drops to lowest level in a century around Thai, Lao, Myanmar border | News by The Thaiger

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Environment

Thai PM has “grave concerns”, orders army to be on standby over drought in north

The Thaiger

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Thai PM has “grave concerns”, orders army to be on standby over drought in north | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai army water trucks are on standby to help northern farmers

Acknowledging the severity of the potential crisis looking over northern and north-eastern provinces, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is instructing the armed forces to provide help to areas affected by drought, a situation which may be made worse by the test run of the new Xayaburi dam on the Laos section of the Mekong River.

PM Prayut has expressed “grave concern” over the drought situation, according to an assistant defence spokesman.

Eight provinces located along the river in the two regions – Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Ubon Ratchathani and Amnat Charoen, Chiang Rai, Loei, Nong Khai, Beung Kan – are likely to be the worst affected if the hydroelectric trial continues until the scheduled July 29. The trials started last Monday.

On Friday, the Office of National Water Resources took the unusual step of writing to the Lao government, asking it to suspend the tests, citing unforeseen side effects of the dam project on the Mekong.

The 1,260-megawatt Xayaburi dam, located south of Luang Prabang, Laos, is scheduled to begin producing electricity in three months, with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand being the dam’s largest customer. The only legal political party in Laos is the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.

Thai PM has

The controversial Xayaburi dam project in Laos has endured strong local protests during its construction – AsiaNews

The new leadership at the Thai Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry plans a series of measures to deal with the imminent drought situation. Among them is a reduction in the release volume of water from two key dams in the North, expected to save 10 million rai of rice paddies in the Central Region from going dry.

Other relief measures include sending army water trucks to drought-affected areas. The air force will also work with agriculture officials to make artificial rain near reservoirs which continue to suffer from low water levels.

Arthit Phanasun, heading up a Nong Khai environmental group says many areas in his province have seen no rain for over a month even though it should have been a soaking wet period.

“Rain is now a past memory,” according to the Bangkok Post.

He noted that Nong Khai’s Muang district, on the Thai side of the Mekong, now sees its riverbank extend almost to the middle of a section of the river, following the recent rapid decrease in its water level.

Farmers in Nakhon Ratchasima are also suffering. Their rice crops in paddy fields covering almost 200,000 rai in Phimai district are wilting and dying as the severe drought takes a toll.

Governor Wichian Chantharanothai yesterday reported that water sources in the district are running dry.

In Phuket, the three main dam catchments are all below 10% of their full levels, a surprise to local water board officials given that the southern wet season is now more than halfway over and the dams would be well on their way to filling up at this stage.

The Office of National Water Resources lists Phuket as the province in the country at second highest risk of running out of water in the next 12 months.

The Director of Phuket Provincial Irrigation Office, Somsawat Chaisinsorn, has admitted in a Facebook post “that there’s not enough water on this island”.

Thai PM has

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | The Nation | Asian Review | The Thaiger

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“Worst drought in living memory”, Thai farmers in the north

The Thaiger & The Nation

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“Worst drought in living memory”, Thai farmers in the north | The Thaiger

Parts of Thailand are facing their worst drought in 50 years. Farmers in some parts of the north and north east say that the situation is the “worst in living memory”, as reported in Sanook.

Meanwhile, The Meteorological Department says Thailand will experience the worst drought in at least a decade, with average precipitation across large regions of the country falling far short of the monthly averages.

Sanook reports that rivers and reservoirs are 10% below the levels at the same time last year in Lamphun, just south of the north city of Chiang Mai. Farmers are being urged to be pro-active and collect any rainwater over the next two months because there is unlikely to be enough to go round from the usual irrigation sources in the region.

Sanook also reports that areas around Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand’s north-east are also facing the worst drought in 50 years.

Water levels in large reservoirs stand around 38% capacity in the North, 33% in the North-east, 22% in the Central Plains, 35% in the East, 67% in the West, and 60% in the South, according to figures released by the Office of National Water Resources and published in the Bangkok Post.

In the tourist island of Phuket the three main catchments are all below 10-15% of their capacity as the annual wet season has provided little rain to start filling them up. The island is facing an acute water shortage for the tourist season at the end of the year.

SOURCE: Sanook | Bangkok Post

Phuket’s main water catchment at Bang Wad Dam in Kathu, central Phuket

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