Thailand faces severe drought, rising unemployment hinh anh 1A field in Bang Pla Ma, Thailand's Suphanburi province (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) -
Thailand is struggling with an increasingly severe drought as the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia also continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Up to 6,255 communes in 24 provinces across the country were reported to be affected by drought at an online meeting hosted by the Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) on April 13, with many facing serious water shortages. Dams and reservoirs are 49 percent full but only 26 percent of their water is usable.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon was cited by local media as telling the meeting that the ONWR and related agencies must ensure clean water security for every household amid the prolonged drought, in support of the Government’s call for people to remain at home in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

With drought predicted until July, the Deputy PM ordered water wells be drilled to provide water for drought-affected communities, while ensuring water resources for businesses and projects along the Eastern Economic Corridor.

The Royal Irrigation Department has identified and provided 15.3 billion cubic meters of water for drought-affected areas, fulfilling 87 percent of the target set in its Drought Management Plan 2019-2020.

Thailand reported 34 more COVID-19 cases and one more fatality on April 14, bringing its total number of infections to 2,613, with fatalities rising to 41.

The number of confirmed new cases was higher than the 28 recorded on April 13 but substantially lower than the 111 reported on April 8. The country announced its highest daily number of infections on March 22, of 188.

Seven million workers in Thailand have been made redundant to date. The figure may reach 10 million in the time to come if the pandemic continues, according to Kalin Sarasin, Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce./.