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Posts Tagged ‘drought’

Northern region copes with drought

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:32 am

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has recently organized an urgent meeting with local authorities in the nothern region to discuss measures coping with the long lasting drought, which might threaten hundreds of thousands hectares of winter-spring rice crop.

People use excavator to dredge the canal system in Ha Dong District, Hanoi (Photo: SGGP)

According to Minister Cao Duc Phat, the northern region is experiencing a serious drought as it has not rained for several consecutive months and floodwater from the upper reaches has not streamed down. Water level in reservoirs of many hydropower plants is just at 50 percent of their capacity.

Without rain, drought has chapped fields in a lot of provinces including Son La, Tuyen Quang, Hung Yen, Hai Duong and Phu Tho and Hanoi.

Farmers expressed concern as it is just about one to two month when the area begins the main rice production crop this year.

According to the Irrigation Department, if the drought continues, about 650,000 hectares of the winter spring crop will be dried up.

Meanwhile, the National Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Center said that it will not rain until the end of the year. As a result, water level on northern rivers will be 20-40 percent lower than that in previous years.

The drought will take place not only in the mountainous region but also in the Red River Delta’s center including Hai Duong, Nam Dinh, Hung Yen and Thai Binh provinces and Hanoi.

Moreover, the Rice cultivation would be more difficult with other three to four severe cold spells forecast to move in the north this winter, reducing average temperatures to below 15 degree Celsius.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat instructed localities to preserve and save the water sources. In addition, they should guide farmers to postpone the winter-spring crop and grow plants able to grow up with water scarcity and salt instruction.

He also ordered authorized organs to closely monitor reservoirs and prevent them from releasing water to catch fish.

The Irrigation Department asked provinces to maintain pumping machines and dredge canals to cope with drought. The most important thing is that hydropower plants have to release water for cultivation in the lowlands.

The ministry and the Vietnam Electricity (EVN) has worked together about the water release schedule to balance demand of agricultural production and electric generation.

Accordingly, EVN would discharge water from Hoa Binh, Tuyen Quang and Thac Ba hydropower reservoirs in two stages for the coming rice crop.

The first time will take place from January 27 to February 2 while the other will be from February 8 to 14 with the total releasing water of 1.6 billion cubic meter.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam to face serious drought

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2010 at 11:23 am

Vietnam is forecast to face quite a few serious drought times in 2011, especially during the dry season from December, 2010 to April, the National Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Centre has warned.

File photo shows a drought paddy field in the Mekong Delta

Water level in the Red River may take the record low of just 0.1 metre in 2010, said the centre.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat on November 25 instructed related departments to take precautions against droughts as well as ensure enough water for spring-winter crop in three areas, including northern, southeast and Mekong Delta regions.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the rain season was over in the three areas, however, rainfall just reached from 62% – 85% in this year.

The ministry asked locals nationwide to not release water to catch fishes. Mekong Delta provinces need to build dam to prevent sea water intrusion, said the ministry.

Source: SGGP

King’s rainmakers take to skies to ease Thai drought

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2010 at 7:23 am

HUA HIN, Thailand, Aug 18, 2010 (AFP) – High above Thailand’s parched landscape the kingdom’s fleet of intrepid royal rainmakers work their meteorological wizardry.

A squadron of 20 aircraft plunges through the clouds firing a cocktail of chemicals that they hope will provoke a downpour to alleviate the effects of drought on the country’s crucial agriculture sector.

A picture taken on July 28, 2010 shows Thai Agricultural officials seeding chemicals in the sky during a rainmaking operation on the outskirts of the Hua Hin resort.

The annual cloud seeding operation is something of a personal crusade for Thailand’s King Bhumibol, who has earned the title “Father of the Royal Rainmaking” for his half-century project to persuade clouds to rain on cue.

Not content to leave the weather in the hands of nature, the octogenarian monarch developed the programme to support the country’s farmers and has even patented his own cloud seeding technique.

In a manoeuvre known as the “sandwich”, the king’s rainmakers fire chemicals at different altitudes — such as sodium chloride above and dry ice below — to induce rainfall from warm clouds.

The “super sandwich” adds another aircraft to the operation, releasing silver iodide from about 20,000 feet — around 6,000 metres — to initiate rain from formations of varying temperatures.

Pilot Major Phumintorn Undhisote flies from the rainmaking centre in Hua Hin, where the king has his holiday home.

Seeding in this narrow strip of the country between the Gulf of Thailand and the Myanmar border takes a high level of precision.

And while Major Phumintorn believes in the effectiveness of his missions, they are not without risk.

“According to the flying textbook, in bad weather pilots have to fly away… or land, but rainmaking means we have to fly into the clouds,” he said.

He is one of 522 people — including scientists, engineers, pilots and technicians — involved in the Bureau of the Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation’s efforts to manipulate Mother Nature.

More than 5,500 cloud seeding flights were made from eight centres in 2008 and around 870 million baht (27 million dollars) was spent on the project.

This year the rainy season — normally from about May to October depending on the region — got off to a weak start.

While Thailand has a tropical climate and suffers floods as well as drought, the size of the agriculture sector and growing consumer demand for water makes the country particularly sensitive to the vagaries of the wet season.

Figures from the country’s central bank suggest agriculture accounted for almost 10 percent of the economy last year and nearly 40 percent of the labour force.

Wathana Sukarnjanaset, director of the Hua Hin cloud-seeding centre, said there had been “quite a crisis” this year, with water in some of the country’s biggest dams falling to critical levels, although the situation is improving.

In the most recent dry season, from November through April, 6.4 million people in 52 provinces were affected by drought, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

In the past, cloud seeding was dismissed by some as little more than meteorological alchemy as scientists struggled to assess whether rainfall would have happened regardless of chemical assistance.

But it has gained a mainstream following in many countries, including the United States and China, while Thailand recently gave Australia permission to use the king’s techniques.

Wathana said Thailand’s own research suggested cloud seeding can increase precipitation by 109 percent.

He said there was usually “quite a change in the weather” after the flights, which operate from February to October.

“Farmers come to ask us to make rain in that area so we tell them ‘go back and wait’ and it is raining in the afternoon (or) in a short time, one or two days mostly,” he added.

One of those who relies on the cloud seeders is Siriwan Boonngarm, whose farm nestles deep in the Phetchaburi countryside.

She started out in 2005 after retiring as a teacher and now focuses on growing pineapples, bananas and rubber trees, which require less water than Thailand’s thirstier rice crops.

But the former maths tutor said she still finds herself calling on the king’s rainmakers — sometimes as often as every four or five days.

“This year is the worst drought. The rains did not come on time. The weather was hot and there was not enough water,” she said.

Siriwan, whose rural home is festooned with royal flags, has no doubt who she has to thank when the clouds darken and the rain falls.

“Humans cannot survive without water,” she said. “His Majesty helps us with everything, gives us love, gives us life.”

Source: SGGP

Russia bans grain exports due to drought

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2010 at 7:21 am

MOSCOW, Aug 6, 2010 (AFP) – Russia, the world’s third wheat exporter, has banned grain exports until the year end after a record drought and fires ravaged millions of hectares (acres) amid a scorching heatwave.

Russian woman Olga Ivanova cleans up debris from the charred remains of burnt out homes in the village of Peredeltsy on August 5, 2010. AFP

Wheat futures shot up to new two-year highs on commodities markets after the shock announcement from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday raised concerns about global grain supplies.

The ban comes as Russia struggles to contain the worst wildfires in its modern history that have killed 50 people, with the blazes spreading to the country’s south and raising concerns about radiation levels.

“In connection with the unusually high temperatures and the drought, I consider it right to impose a temporary ban on the export from Russia of grain and other products produced from grain,” Putin told a government meeting.

Russia earlier this week slashed its 2010 grain harvest forecast to 70-75 million tonnes, compared with a harvest of 97 million tonnes in 2009, owing to the worst drought for decades.

Last year, Russia exported 21.4 million tonnes of grain and observers had already warned that could be sharply lower this year owing to the drought.

The prime minister’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the export ban would come into force August 15 and remain in place until December 31.

“We must not allow an increase in domestic prices and must preserve the headcount of our cattle,” Putin said in comments broadcast on state television.

Putin signed a decree imposing the ban which also stated that Russia would ask fellow members of a regional customs union — Belarus and Kazhakhstan — to make a similar move. Kazakhstan is also a major world grain exporter.

“There can only be one comment — shock,” said Vladimir Petrichenko, director of the Prozerno agricultural analytical firm.

“We will only be able to return to the global markets with a tarnished reputation, with losses,” he told Interfax.

Russia’s policy after December 31 would be determined by the results of the harvest, Putin said. Russia has seen 20 percent of its arable land (10 million hectares, 24.7 million acres) destroyed in the heatwave.

The severity of the drought has seen states of emergency declared in 27 regions.

Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier that the overall number of fires across Russia had fallen “but not so much that we can rejoice.”

Shoigu said the emergency services were working flat out to prevent the fires spreading to a region in western Russia where the soils are still contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe of 1986 in neighbouring Ukraine.

Wildfires that have been raging around Moscow for a week also forced the Russian defence ministry to order the evacuation of munitions from a military depot near the capital, the Ria Novosti news agency reported.

“Because of the danger posed by fires in the region … the weapons, artillery and missiles at a munitions depot,” at Alabinsk, about 70 kilometres (43 miles) southwest of Moscow, have been “transferred to a secure site,” a defence ministry spokesman said.

Putin also announced that agriculture producers who had suffered as a result of the drought would receive financial aid totalling 35 billion rubles (1.17 billion dollars).

Concerns about Russia — coupled with a drought that has also hit Ukraine and Kazakhstan as well as a low harvest in Canada — had already led to a spike in global wheat prices to two-year highs.

On Euronext, the November milling wheat future jumped after Putin’s announcement to 226 euros per metric tonne, up 8.25 percent on the day.

In Chicago, September wheat shot up to 7.83 dollars a bushel from 7.26 dollars while the December contract jumped to 8.09 dollars from 7.55 dollars.

Russia’s average annual domestic consumption of grain is estimated at around 77 million tonnes and Putin said the country currently has reserves of 9.5 million tonnes.

Source: SGGP

Heat wave, drought continue to hit northern, central regions

In Uncategorized on July 6, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Heat wave, drought continue to hit northern, central regions

QĐND – Tuesday, July 06, 2010, 20:42 (GMT+7)

The northern and central regions are suffering from a severe heat wave with the temperature hitting 40 degrees Celsius in some places.

The heat wave will last until July 8 and then subside. The central region is also hard hit by prolonged drought.

According to the Forest Management Department, many forests in the provinces of central region are at dangerous and extremely dangerous fire-risk levels.

Also the same day, the water level in rivers in the central and central highland region were lower than normal, causing water shortages on a wide scale at almost all provinces, said the National Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Centre.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

PM calls for measures to deal with drought, heat

In Uncategorized on July 5, 2010 at 4:10 pm

PM calls for measures to deal with drought, heat

QĐND – Monday, July 05, 2010, 21:26 (GMT+7)

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked central provinces which have been hit severely by drought and heat to take drastic measures to negate the effects of drought and ensure the timely harvest of the summer-autumn crop.

Over the recent period, droughts and heat-waves have had a negative effect on agricultural production in the central provinces. It is likely that farmers will experience poor harvests as many hectares of already planted paddy rice have dried out while many hectares in some areas have been left fallow due to water shortages.

In an urgent dispatch sent to the province late last week, the Prime Minister asked chairmen of the People’s Committees from affected provinces to instruct the local Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and related agencies to ensure water supplies to the paddy fields. In areas where rice could not be planted, farmers must grow other less water-thirsty crops instead.

Local authorities were required to dredge canals and ditches; install more pumping stations; manage water resources more efficiently by preventing losses and leakages from the reservoirs and irrigation works; and ensure that measures are in place to distribute water.

The Prime Minister also allowed provinces to use their disaster prevention budgets and other legal financial sources for drought mitigation.

The Prime Minister also ordered Electricity of Vietnam to ensure power supplies for irrigation and water works and co-operate with local authorities to release more water from hydro-electric power reservoirs.

The National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasts was requested to keep a close eye on weather and hydro-meteorological forecasts in order to issue timely warnings of water shortages and data for hydro-electric power plants to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Electricity of Vietnam, and local authorities so that they could actively take measures to combat the worst effects of the drought.

Source: VNS/VOVNews

Source: QDND

PM spells out measures to combat drought

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2010 at 4:07 pm

PM spells out measures to combat drought

QĐND – Saturday, July 03, 2010, 21:1 (GMT+7)

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung sent a dispatch July 2 to related provinces, cities and ministries, outlining urgent measures to fight against the major drought affecting Northern Central and Southern Central Coastal areas.

The measures are aimed to help farmers cultivate the upcoming summer-autumn crop as scheduled, ensure production and stabilize people’s lives.

These provinces and cities are currently affected by a severe drought that has caused the loss of vast areas of rice fields. The drought is menacing the cultivation of the summer-autumn crop, so there is a high risk of crop failure on a mass scale.

The PM asked people’s committees of affected provinces and cities and local administrations of all levels to synchronously implement measures on fighting against drought, including dredging irrigation canals, installing more water pumping stations, monitoring and using effectively and economically water sources and ensuring sufficient water for paddy fields.

To ensure cultivation, PM Dung asked localities to use their standby budgets allocated for natural disasters and other funds.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was asked to order people’s committees and related agencies to visit severely affected localities to keep track of the situation and instruct people how to deal with the drought.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade was asked to order the Electricity of Vietnam Group to prioritize power to the cause and cooperate with localities to make a plan for letting out water from reservoirs to dried areas.

PM Dung also asked the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources to instruct the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting to follow the situation closely and keep the public informed of upcoming weather conditions.

Source: SGGP


Source: QDND

Drought burns central crops

In Uncategorized on June 24, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Farmers have suffered through scorching weather that has dried up rivers and burned crops in the central region over the last few months.

A farmer in the northern central province of Nghe An squats on his withered rice field caused by the long-lasting drought (Photo: SGGP)

Normally, rivers in the regions see at least minimal flooding by the end of May every year. However, this year, though June is nearly over, the floods have yet to arrive.

Big rivers like Vu Gia and Thu Bon in Quang Nam Province, Tra Khuc in Quang Ngai and La Tinh in Binh Dinh have been depleted. Many sections of Gianh River in Quang Binh Province have also dried up.

In Ha Tinh Province’s Thach Ha District, hundred of farmers tried to take water from small exhausted canals to their fields with bailers and buckets at noon on June 23.

Farmer Nguyen Hoanh Ty, 50, said that he was brokenhearted to see over half of his 5,500 square meters of rice burned and his fields charred.

In the neighboring province of Nghe An, Nguyen Duy Nam from Do Luong District said that he has never seen such a severe drought. Since the heavy rains of late September last year, he has yet seen significant precipitation.

Nguyen Thanh Tung, deputy chairman of My Son Commune, said that the commune has 410 hectares of agricultural land with a cultivation area of 120 hectares, all of whose plants have died off due to drought.

In Quang Nam Province, the intensely hot weather has changed the rice fields from green to yellow in districts of Thang Binh, Duy Xuyen and Dai Loc.

The condition is not any better in Binh Dinh Province where plenty of fields have been abandoned due to a shortage of irrigation water.

Depleted rivers and wells

At this time, the A Vuong hydropower plant reservoir and irrigation reservoirs like Phu Ninh, Khe Tan, Thai Xuan and Cao Ngan in Quang Nam Province are depleted.

Thu Bon River system’s water levels have plunged, worsening salt intrusion at river mouths.

In the neighboring province of Quang Ngai, the water levels of irrigation reservoirs have also been exhausted.

Thua Thien-Hue Province’s irrigation work management and exploitation company said that if the drought extends for one more week, about 30 percent of rice fields in the province will fade, with worst damaged areas being in Nam Dong and A Luoi Districts.

Meantime, at 11 islets in the middle of Gianh River in Quang Binh Province, residents are living amidst an area penetrated by seawater; they had been living off rainwater preserved in jars, which have run out.

Over the last two months, they have had to buy water at an exorbitant price of VND100,000 per cubic meter.

Hoang Xuan Hien in Mai Hoa Commune of Tuyen Hoa District lamented that his livelihood, carrying passengers by boat on the Gianh River, has been seriously affected as the river’s water level has plummeted.

Save rice

Deputy Chairman of Quang Nam Province People’s Committee Nguyen Ngoc Quang has approved a project to deal with drought-affected summer-autumn crops.

Accordingly, the province will spend over VND8 billion (US$421,000) to install water-pumping machines in fields. Drought prevention efforts will focus on the four most arid districts of Dai Loc, Dien Ban, Duy Xuyen and Thang Binh.

In addition, the province has also dammed up dikes to cope with salt penetration and has accumulated water from the upper reaches of rivers to pump in for agricultural production and the needs of daily life.

The People’s Committee of Binh Dinh Province has instructed the Water Supply and Environment Center to transport fresh water to thirsty areas rapidly. The province has also decided to finance drilling wells for farmers with a cost of about VND1.5 million per well.

However, several agricultural and irrigation officials from the central provinces said that if it does not rain within the next ten days, 30-40 percent of the summer-autumn rice crops in the central region will suffer a complete loss.

Source: SGGP

Hanoi suburbs stricken by drought

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2010 at 1:07 am

Hanoi suburbs stricken by drought

QĐND – Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 7:55 (GMT+7)

As the dry season prolongs into drought, residents in Ba Vi District on the outskirts of Hanoi are suffering from water shortages.

Out of 109 households, home to 502 people in Cao Linh hamlet, Phu Son commune, only 10 have enough water by building their own water storage containers.

“From November to the end of March, there is serious lack of water here, and this year it has worsened due to the long-lasting drought,” said Phung Tien Truong, a local official.

The communal People’s Committee and residents have asked for water supplies many times but not received a response.

“Besides the weather, Cao Linh is located 600 metres up Phu Huu Hill meaning underground water is scarce. Previously, the hamlet relied on water from the Yen Ngua canal, but that has been gradually filled up by landslides,” added Chu Ba Trang from Phu Son commune’s People’s Committee.

In order to sort out the problem, Phu Son has built three public wells and water containers.

However, the wells, costing an estimated 15-20 VND million (790-1,050 USD), remain empty.

“In 2008, my family invested in building one well, but that hasn’t provided any water at the moment. Instead, we have to buy water at 100,000 VND per 4cu.m.

Despite being located at a lower position compared to Phu Son, Phu An hamlet in Thai Hoa commune, the poorest area of Ba Vi district, is also suffering. Out of 86 households, 56 live below the poverty line. They all suffer from water shortages from October to April every year.

“We have to take water from the irrigation canals which have no water in dry season.

The water we take from wells is yellow and very muddy,” said Chu Van Cho, Phu An hamlet’s Party Secretary.

According to a report from the Hanoi clean water trading company, 38.5 percent of residents in Hanoi get water from urban water systems. In the five districts of Dong Anh, Soc Son, Gia Lam, Thanh Tri and Tu Liem, the rate is 15 percent and only 1 percent for the districts of Hoai Duc, Dan Phuong, Ba Vi, Quoc Oai, Thanh Oai, Ung Hoa, My Duc, Phu Xuyen and Me Linh.

Suburban residents haven’t got tap water yet. Instead, they still use water from wells, irrigation canals or rain. Out of 101 water supply stations with capacity of 400-1,600cu.m per day, 89 are currently in operation.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Severe drought damages Central Highlands crops

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Severe drought damages Central Highlands crops

QĐND – Sunday, April 04, 2010, 22:52 (GMT+7)

A long bout of sweltering weather in the Central Highlands is creating havoc for residents as crops are dying and freshwater levels in rivers are being depleted at an alarming rate.

According to provincial agriculture and rural development departments, drought conditions are affecting large areas in the region. Geologists say that underground water sources are also severely declining as the days go by.

In Gia Lai Province’s eastern districts of Kong Chro, Krong Pa, Dak Po and Kbang, the parching conditions have put thousands of farmers’ crops in danger.

In Mang Yang District, the water dearth is threatening 1,000 hectares of rice.

Water levels at most irrigation works and rivers have slumped and are now one to two meters lower than last year during the same period.

Dinh Xuan Duyen, head of the Krong Pa District Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that thousands of hectares of tobacco, fruit and vegetables in the district are dying from a lack of water.

The daily activities of locals are also suffering. Residents have been transporting water each day in containers from the Ba River, as all wells have now dried up, he said.

Meanwhile, as of March 31, Dak Lak Province had 5,000 hectares of rice, coffee and maize suffering drought conditions, with 780 hectares in danger of dying off completely.

According to the Central Highlands’ Hydro Meteorological Center, this year’s rainy season will come late compared with previous years, which means all water sources could continue drying up in the coming months.

Experts have said the Central Highlands should reduce areas used to cultivate coffee and instead increase areas to grow forests, as this will help the area retain more water in the future.

Source: SGGP

Source: QDND