A Thai farmer walks on a barren field in Bang Pla Ma, Suphan Buri province (Photo: AFP)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – Thailand’s Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) on October 19 raised official concerns over the emerging drought crisis in the country's northeastern region.

Governor of Nakhon Ratchasima province Wichian Chantharanothai said the province's 32 districts have been declared as drought-hit areas, adding that the situation is the most severe in this province.

As many as 112,000ha of farmland, mostly paddy, have already been damaged due to a lack of rainfall.

So far, 14 crop-growing areas have been listed as needing immediate help. Local officials are considering aid in cash for rice farmers to compensate them for their losses, said Wichian.

Many other parts of the country are also facing the prospect of acute water shortages.

The northeast region has 21 of the country's 36 dams that are at less than 30 percent of their available capacity. Ubonrat, one of the major dams in the region, is only 11 percent full.

Dams in the northeast have only about a month left to collect water from the seasonal rainfall until the rainy season resumes in May 2019.

The Thai Meteorological Department has also warned that the development of an El Nino (warmer temperatures) in the Pacific Ocean in the beginning of 2019 will contribute to an even drier than normal climate in Southeast Asia and Western Pacific. –VNA