BANGKOK, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Thai authorities said although 35 of the country's provinces have been hit by a seasonal drought, they are better prepared to handle it this year.
As many as 25,014 villages in Thailand are currently being affected by dry conditions, the Bangkok Post reported Saturday. Chatchai Promlert, the director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has ordered state agencies to prepare in advance for dry conditions, which occur with varying degrees of severity nearly every year between January and May.
Before the drought hit, state agencies refilled 49,000 public water tanks nationwide for household use as needed, Chatchai said.
Chatchai said the government has spent about $29.8 million to ease potential drought problems.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk said his agency has water pumps on hand in every province, which will be deployed to supply water to houses and farmlands should the drought stretch through April.
The agency has drilled additional underground wells to ensure there will be enough water for household and agricultural use.