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Thailand’s reservoirs and dams reaching critically low levels




Thailand’s reservoirs and dams reaching critically low levels | The Thaiger
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The start of the annual wet season isn’t far away, maybe this month, but Thailand’s water sources are running on empty.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported today, that Thailand has seen a large drop of useable water in dams and reservoirs by an average of 30% of their capacity, due to the lack of rain in the first three months of the year.

“21 dams in provinces of Lampang, Tak, Uttaradit, Chiang Mai, Uthai Thani, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Udon Thani, Buriram, Suphan Buri, Lop Buri, Chachoengsao, Nakhon Nayok, Chonburi and Rayong have reported critically low water levels. Meanwhile, 187 reservoirs nationwide also reported water levels at below 30% including 50 reservoirs in the North, 100 in the Northeast, 33 in Central and four in the South.”

“It is expected that 6,065 villages in 139 districts and 714 subdistricts are currently being affected by the drought.”

So far there have been reports that 23 provinces declared as drought areas requiring emergency financial support by the Ministry of Finance. These provinces include Phayao, Nan, Chiang Rai, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Phetchaboon, Uthai Thani, Nongkhai, Nakhon Sawan, Beung Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Kalasin, Mahasarakham, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram, Chaiyaphum, Sisaket, Chainat, Kanjanaburi, Suphanburi, Chachoengsao, and Prachinburi.

Phuket reservoirs are also at critically low levels, only surviving because of the drop in tourists to the island since January.

Songkran, the Thai New Year, on April 13, is usually the annual celebration of the end of the country’s hot season and the start of the annual wet season. The formal celebrations for Songkran have been postponed by the Thai government.

SOURCE: The Nation

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African horse sickness: Imported zebras need health check and quarantine

Caitlin Ashworth



African horse sickness: Imported zebras need health check and quarantine | The Thaiger

Humans have the coronavirus, the animal world in Thailand has an outbreak of their own: African horse sickness. The government is now requiring all imported zebras to be quarantined and tested before entering the country. The same goes for horses.

Why are people importing zebras? Who knows, but apparently it hasn’t been that hard to get the exotic animals into Thailand. A former university faculty of fisheries dean said “zebras, for instance, are freely imported through Suvarnabhumi airport as though they were cats or dogs,” according to Nation Thailand.

Thailand is experiencing its first outbreak of the disease, affecting more than 500 horses since February. Some were prized racehorses. Apparently zebras imported from Africa are the source, with some of the zebras testing positive for the disease, but officials say there’s not enough evidence to completely lay the blame on the zebras.

There’s been a vaccine released by the government’s livestock department, but racehorse owners say that many horses have died after being vaccinated, with the assumption that the animals had become infected before receiving the vaccine and the animal building immunity. There are strict restrictions in Nakhon Ratchasima where the outbreak emerged. The Bangkok Post said any movement of giraffes, horses, donkeys and mules is prohibited.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Bangkok Post| Bangkok Post 

Posted by Thai PBS on Monday, 18 May 2020

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Cyclone Amphan’s death toll climbs to 83 in India and Bangladesh – VIDEO




Cyclone Amphan’s death toll climbs to 83 in India and Bangladesh – VIDEO | The Thaiger

Today the clean up starts in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan after it reached the coastline Wednesday evening and started heading inland. In parts of Bangladesh and West Bengal (eastern India boarding Bangladesh), at least 83 people have died. It’s affected some 10 million Indian and Bangladeshi people, leaving countless homeless.

With winds around 170 kilometre per hour, most of the deceased were killed by falling trees, electrocuted by downed power poles or trapped within collapsed buildings, leaving a trail of destruction and grief.

Cyclone Amphan's death toll climbs to 83 in India and Bangladesh - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, told local media in a press conference that, “she had never seen such a disaster before and the impact of Amphan cyclone is worse than the coronavirus.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday, as the storm barrelled up the Bay of Bengal, emergency crews headed to populated beach areas, trying to convince locals to leave their homes and evacuate to the shelters. Read more HERE

Around 3 million people in India and Bangladesh followed the calls and moved to safety. However, Indian police officers say that some villagers resisted going to shelters as they feared becoming stuck in a closed space with thousands of others at a time the coronavirus.

Yesterday, after the cyclone had weakened as it moved inland towards the northeastern parts of India, with wind speeds of 60 kilometre per hour. Many villagers who had fled to the cyclone shelters began heading back to their villages, only to find their homes completely wrecked.

Among the reported deaths, the authorities revealed that 10 people had died in Bangladesh, and at least 73 in India, 15 in Kolkata alone.

Cyclone Amphan's death toll climbs to 83 in India and Bangladesh - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Ms. Banerjee, the West Bengal minister, says that the region was in a “warlike” situation and that the loss of lives could surpass the toll of Covid-19. The authorities there reported that “Bangladesh seemed to do better at getting people into emergency shelters, evacuating a total of 2.4 million people. Whereas in India, officials estimated that only around 660,000 had been evacuated.”

“Even the local news was focused more on coronavirus than the cyclone, when the government finally started evacuating people and people realised the intensity of the storm, it was too late.”

Cyclone Amphan's death toll climbs to 83 in India and Bangladesh - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Today Indian PM Narendra Modi left New Delhi to conduct an aerial survey of the worst hit areas of West Bengal and Odisha states.

Through an initial assessment, officials in Bangladesh say the cyclone caused damage to infrastructure, homes, fisheries, livestock, water supplies and agriculture to about US$130 million (more than 4 billion baht). The full extent of the damage is not yet full apparent and the death toll is expected to rise.

The PM says that “no stone will be left unturned in helping the affected.”

SOURCE: Ny Times | Aljaeera | Times of IndiaHosted

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Air Pollution

Government claims they’re serious about northern air pollution

Jack Burton



Government claims they’re serious about northern air pollution | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Thailand’s northern provinces, particularly Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, suffer mightily during the annual plantation burning season, infamously known as “smoky season,” when farmers there and in neighbouring Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia burn their fields in preparation for the next harvest. The season lasts from January to April, and during that time Chiang Mai often rates as having the worst air quality in the world. But now the government says it’s taking air pollution seriously and aims to clean up the North.

Chiang Mai’s air quality problems have been a consistent issue, since the northern Thai city was declared ‘most polluted city in the world’ on March 10, according The city has ‘won’ the accolade on more than 10 days this year. Adding to the problem, in March and April this year were the forest fires challenging local authorities in the mountains around the city.

Government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat expressed gratitude to the Chiang Mai Breath Council for its concern on smog in the North and gave assurances the government is earnest about solving the problem. Responding to the council’s demand for successful resolution she said the council makes a huge contribution by monitoring air pollution for the sake of public health.

“The government has tried to solve the problem and assigned local authorities to implement relevant measures. It is never distracted from the effort, despite the coronavirus pandemic.”

“The government is grateful for the Chiang Mai Breath Council’s campaigns for clean air. However, the problem cannot be solved by a single organisation. All parties must join forces. I believe that solutions will improve from now on.”

The government spokeswoman also said that Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon would visit Chiang Mai province today to follow up on smog solutions.

“The government understands that it may not be impossible for provincial and regional parties to solve the issue by themselves. We believe that if all parties join hands and watch out for wildfires, which are at the root of the problem and cause of the fine dust, air pollution will be relieved eventually.”

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