Thais Living Along Mekong Struggle from Drought, Effects of Dams

Dam operations upstream combined with a drought have caused a severe drop in water levels along the Mekong River, on which tens of millions of people rely for their livelihoods through fishing or farming, say Thais who live by the banks of the great waterway.

BenarNews visited communities in northern Thailand that sit on the river to get a close-up look at the problems that locals have been complaining about, and to capture their regions in pictures.

Pra Apichart Ratigo, an abbot in Chiang Saen, a district of Thailand’s Chiang Rai province, said he had observed the Mekong for decades.

“Previously the water gradually receded in the dry season to a certain point and it bounced back gradually. Over the last four or five years, it abruptly went up in three days and went down in three days, like someone turned a faucet on and off,” the Buddhist monk told BenarNews, referring to the effects of dams upstream in China and Laos.

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Nontarat Phaicharoen