A New Low: Scenes from Thailand's Drought

Collection with 10 media items created by [email protected]

Thailand 08 Apr 2016 00:00

Many regions of Thailand are struggling with what some have called the worst drought in decades with nearly 30 of Thailand’s 77 provinces declared drought affected according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM). Climate experts have pointed to an El Niño weather pattern along with the effects of climate change as the cause for drier and hotter than usual weather across much of the country leading to canals, reservoirs and dams to reach record lows levels. For the nation’s farmers meanwhile, these higher than normal temperatures combined with last year’s short-lived wet season have forced some to plant more drought-resistant crops, and in some places these too are failing. With the wet season set to begin many affected communities are hoping that significant rainfall will help to ease the situation, however there remains a collective anxiety that a short-lived wet season this year will not provide adequate rainfall to bring relief to farmers and communities most affected.

Thailand Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai Farmers Drought Crops Climate Change El Nino Thai Farmers

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Thailand Drought 02
Chiang Mai
By [email protected]
26 Mar 2016

A line of water markers lead down to the water'€™s edge at the Mae Kuang dam in Thailand'€™s Chiang Mai province. The distant tree line provides an indication of past dam levels while significant rainfall is believed to be still months away.

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Thailand Drought 03
Chiang Mai
By [email protected]
26 Mar 2016

The view down river from the gates of the Mae Kuang dam in Chiang Mai province. The current water levels at the dam sit below the gates meaning water release is not possible.

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Thailand Drought 04
Chiang Mai
By [email protected]
22 Mar 2016

Ngam, a fisherman, lands his boat with his catch for the day after passing through choked waterways in Ping River near Chom Thong, in Chiang Mai province. Low water levels mean that many of the larger bodies of water are often difficult to navigate through due to crowding from vegetation. Open areas like this one are becoming more sparse as the dry season continues and the temperature rises.

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Thailand Drought 05
Chiang Mai
By [email protected]
23 Mar 2016

A farmer feeds his water buffalo near a small waterhole in the Ping River near Chom Thong, Thailand. The river is dry in some places as the region struggles through a serious drought. Many districts in the Chiang Mai region have been declared drought-affected and significant rainfall is not expected for months.

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Thailand Drought 01
Chiang Mai
By [email protected]
23 Mar 2016

A young fisherman tries his luck in some of the small waterholes remaining in the Ping River near Chong Thom, Thailand. The river is dry in some places as the region struggles through a serious drought. Many districts in the Chiang Mai region have been declared drought-affected and significant rainfall is not expected for months.

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Thailand Drought 06
Chiang Mai
By [email protected]
26 Mar 2016

In the city of Chiang Mai, there were little signs of drought. In the lead up last month's popular Songkran (a popular holiday marking the Thai new year by throwing water) some local nightclubs threw 'pre-Songkran' festivities in order to promote the upcoming water festival and attract patrons.
Water guns, balloons and hoses were all used to soak club-goers while farmers and villagers outside the city were being told to ration their water due to extremely low levels in the surrounding dams.

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Thailand Drought 07
Chiang Mai
By [email protected]
08 Apr 2016

Jinda, a farmer in Suphanburi province surveys a field he used to grow beans where rice would usually be planted. Severe drought conditions and limited water flowing through nearby irrigated canals have forced many farmers to be selective and grow more drought resistant crops.

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Thailand Drought 08
Chiang Mai
By [email protected]
08 Apr 2016

A farmer inspects his struggling rice crop in central Thailand. Severe drought conditions and limited water flowing through nearby irrigated canals have forced many farmers to grow selectively in order to ration the water they have access to.

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Thailand Drought 09
Chiang Mai
By [email protected]
08 Apr 2016

A farmer near Uthong in Suphanburi province watches over a controlled burn in one of her fields. Government officials have condemned this practice citing concerns for air quality made worse by the lack of rain however burning fields after harvest is often practiced by farmers in order to quickly make way for future crops.

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Thailand Drought 10
Chiang Mai
By [email protected]
08 Apr 2016

A farmer shows some of his failed bean crop near Uthong in Suphanburi province. Dry conditions in Thailand are forcing farmers to plant more drought resistant crops such as beans instead of rice. For many areas however, even substituted crops are failing due to the severe drought.