PHP Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in ..../includes/class_bootstrap.php(433) : eval()'d code on line 110
Misery for drought-hit villagers
Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    30,363
    Thanks
    6,408
    Thanked 5,318 Times in 3,446 Posts

    Misery for drought-hit villagers

    Misery for drought-hit villagers

    Many in the Northeast struggle to make a living from farming during the dry season, writes ANUCHA CHAROENPO in Roi Et


    Kamphan Nonsopha has not seen a drop of rain at her home in tambon Non Sawang in Roi Et's Kaset Wisai district for three years, during which time her family has suffered poverty and hardship. The 39-year-old mother-of-three makes a living by weaving northeastern-style clothing at home, while her husband has been doing menial jobs such as cutting sugarcane in other provinces.

    Her husband returns home just once a year to see his family.

    ''We can make a few hundred baht per month. The income is insufficient to support the family. We need rainfall and the government's irrigation system so we can have fertile areas for growing rice, cash crops and feeding livestock,'' Ms Kamphan said.

    The tambon where she lives is part of Thung Kula Rong Hai, which is still regarded as a wasteland even though it is now a source of high-quality rice.

    Thung Kula Rong Hai is a huge flat area covering parts of four provinces _ Surin, Roi Et, Maha Sarakham and Buri Ram.

    Because of the long-term drought, Mrs Kamphan has also slipped into heavy debt amounting to 70,000 baht, borrowed over the years from the one-million baht village fund of the Thaksin Shinawatra government and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives of Thailand.

    ''I don't know exactly when I can completely pay off the debt because when the end of the year arrives I have to borrow money from loan sharks to pay off interest to the government's village fund and the bank. I never used the loan for investment and farming. Instead I used it for my daily expenses and education for my children,'' said Ms Kamphan.

    Her plight is similar to that of many northeasterners who struggle to earn a living from farming and make ends meet during the dry season, which normally lasts from November to July. But some areas, like Ms Kamphan's village, is affected by drought for the whole year.

    Bua Noibaht, 56, opts to make a living from making salt when drought hits his village, because it is a way of life of most poor northeasterners when they have no fertile lands for growing crops in the dry season.

    In most parts of the Northeast, farmers who are unemployed during the dry season take salted soil from their rice fields, add water to it and boil it down until crystals form.

    ''I get around 50 to 100 baht per day from selling the salt, but it is better than doing nothing, isn't it?'' said Mr Bua.

    He said that every dry season his son and daughter-in-law leave the village to work in Bangkok, and leave their three children with him to feed. They send him 400 to 500 baht a month to help feed the children.

    To help solve such problems, the Non Sawang Tambon Administration Organisation (TAO), has set up a centre at its office to receive complaints from villagers affected by the drought.

    Tambon Non Sawang is home to 14 villages and all have been severely affected by the drought.

    Every day the TAO sends its only fire truck with a water pump to take water from the only natural water source in the village and send it to affected villagers.

    ''But the water is only used for household consumption, not for agriculture. In fact, we need the government to come up with plans to deal with drought more effectively,'' said TAO chairman Winai Worasiri.

    ''We need it to develop a water tap system to pump water from the Siew river passing through the district for agricultural use, so that a lot of farmers here will get back to farming,'' he said.

    The Interior Ministry says Roi Et is one of 44 provinces plagued by severe drought since the end of last year

    Bangkok Post

    Bua Noibaht has turned to salt-making since drought hit his village in Kaset Wisai district of Roi Et.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    4,464
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Misery for drought-hit villagers

    Well you can bet that the new PM SAMAK will have the problem sorted and a remedy on the way before you can say Toxin Shinawatra...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Posts
    572
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 15 Times in 9 Posts

    Re: Misery for drought-hit villagers

    For persons that are new to the Thailand experience it should be noted that the former PM's name is Thaksin and not Toxin as FiP is fond of using. It should also be noted that PM Thaksin had established programs to irrigate the areas hardest hit by this drought before the '06 Coup (a coup that FiP supported).
    The money that was in place for those irrigation projects disappeared after the Junta Government took control (a government FiP supported) and absolutely nothing was done to resolve this well documented problem during the Junta Government's time in power.

    I have every confidence that PM Samak will return to the goals of the irrigation projects and hardships such as this will be relieved as much as possible. It is true that PM Samak does not have the momentum that PM Thaksin had prior to the '06 coup and the time it will take to get the projects in place again will only lead to more hardship. Hopefully people with the mindset of FiP will let the projects get built this time before they push to overthrow another democratically elected government.
    The Heart determines what is Possible by the Mind

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    1,468
    Thanks
    12
    Thanked 341 Times in 116 Posts

    Re: Misery for drought-hit villagers

    Well, the former PM's name is actually ѡԹ, but I would agree that it's best not to resort to name calling. However, since I have been studying development issues, and particularly this one, I didn't want let this pass.

    I have every confidence that PM Samak will return to the goals of the irrigation projects and hardships such as this will be relieved as much as possible.
    Okay, for Isaan specifically the megaproject proposed used to be called the Khong-Chi-Mun or KCM. Recently the idea is reborn and is called "Water Grid" ͢¹. As this proposed idea affects basically all of Isaan , it's worth learning about, and I have been working on that myself. As I mentioned once before the Khong (Mekhong) river and its two main tributaries, the Chi and the Mun, effective define Isaan geographically.

    I have had an opportunity to learn about some of the ideas of this megaproject, and parts of it are already being implemented. There has been detrimental ecological impacts and hardships on villagers already that have caused several protests and complaints. I have talked to some of affected villagers and heard their stories, and heard from NGOs who are trying to work with these villagers. I have also talked with both EGAT (Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand) and RID (Royal Irrigation Department) officials. Plus, we had a lecture by one of the original planners of the KCM project, an engineering professor at Khon Kaen University.

    So far, I have a hard believing that any informed populace in a democratic society would accept this idea as proposed. Basically, there is a real potential to change the entire ecosystem that makes Isaan what it is. Given the huge mess that the Thai government made with the Pak Mun Dam, and other major problems with the top-down planning (such as having EGAT manage some dams in the rainy season, RID managing them in the dry season, and no common collaboration), I think it's imprudent to think that they are likely to get it right this time.

    This kind of megaproject is not really intended to be for the average Isaan person, but will benfit first and foremost large investors, industrial agriculture, and other large industry. The theory is that it will benefit all the people, but until there is concrete action about people who have already suffered hardship, it is difficult for me to buy into that.

    This is something that needs debate in an open, democratic society, but Thailand has always lacked some very basic ideas that we in the West often take for granted: a strong commitment to human rights and free media (especially TV and radio) immediately come to mind. These are extremely serious issues, and it does no service to anyone to minimize them with undue rhetoric from any side.

    I'll try to post links about this subject - I actually intended to already, and saw this post. I'm very busy with other things, so some of this is sketchy. But here is a start.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Posts
    572
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 15 Times in 9 Posts

    Re: Misery for drought-hit villagers

    Tim,

    Thank you for the time and information you have shared. I am familiar with some of the information you have sited and some I have not seen before. It will make for some good reading.

    Damage to the ecosystem, relief of human suffering, and the government's ability to manage mega-projects are very large topics for the best of forums. As you know there are consequences to the earth in every major project (and minor for that matter). If we resolve to give the earth back, then most of us would die. If we resolve to eliminate mega-projects, then the scale of minor projects would not meet the needs of the growing population and most of us would die. Population growth and a tentative nature towards doing extraordinary things seem to create a collision course that can not be ignored.

    If I thought for a moment there was a way to "trust" the governments of the world to minimize errors and adverse effects while still meeting the needs of the planet, then I would be all-in. The hard truth is errors will be made, money will be squandered, and the ecosystem will be altered. Lucky for us the ecosystem has been here long before humans and it will be here long after we are gone. The only consistency is the return to natural balance.

    I have seen the "ecosystem" in Isaan during the dry-season and I question if that is a system worth saving. Would I turn the Sahara into a green zone if it were practical? It is good to evaluate what would be left behind if the irrigation projects continue.

    If it is true pessimism that needs to be shared, then here is one to ponder: As the population of the world increases the density of people rises. As that density rises the risk of a pandemic virus (swine flu, e-coli, SARS, avian flu) killing 10s or 100s of millions rises. In the last ten years we have seen several possible pandemic outbreaks avoided by knowledge and modern technology and the population density continued to rise. Pandemics come in cycles and the planet is due (actually overdue) for one. I personally work in a part of Healthcare that has exposure to generally overlooked information about a Pandemic threat and my opinion is I will experience one before my life-expectancy is over.
    None of us will be afforded a ticket beyond our natural days. Many people actually believe that humans can alter the natural balance for more than a tick on the geologic clock. We are just not that significant. The best we can hope for is to do the best we can do until nature decides to balance herself again.

    I have great reservations that it is only the rich and powerful that will benefit from the irrigation projects because one of the feeder lines will pass close to our ground in Buriram. It will allow the farmers to plant two crops per year instead of only one (as is the case in most other parts of Thailand). As you know there are crop management balances that keep the ground strong and productive. There is a general sense of a better future with the village after the feeder line is in place.
    My family is part of the growing interest in planting rubber trees in Isaan. The dry season has really taken its toll on some of the other families because of problems keeping the trees moist when they are young. We hope to build a processing building and buy a truck to deliver to BKK in the next five years (vertical economics). I can assure you there are no rich and powerful people in our village.
    The Heart determines what is Possible by the Mind

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •