Qatar’s emir, UK prime minister discuss events in region: state news agency

Credit: Reuters- Published on January 9, 2020
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani phoned British Prime minister Boris Johnson on Thursday to discuss ways to ensure security and stability in the region, the state news agency said, amid increasing U.S.-Iranian tensions.

Credit: Newsflare
Published on January 8, 2020 -  03:08
Rivers across Thailand dry up as PM urges people to 'shower less' to fight severe drought
Footage shows how rivers are drying up across Thailand amid a severe drought that has lead to the country's prime minister warning people to shower less. Rivers that were once gushing with fresh water have become barren ditches with cracked mud, dead fish and dried out plants on the bottom. Aerial footage taken today (January 8) along the Yom river in Phitsanulok province and Pichit province shows how just a handful of shallow pools remain due to the lack of rain last year. With no rainfall expected for months ahead, officials have begun planning a disaster response centre to handle rivers that dried up. In some regions they are attempting to pump water into the rivers. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha this week pleaded with the public to ''reduce tooth-brushing and shower time by one minute''. He added: ''Please all help save water. Turn off all the taps. Use less water.'' Due to falling river levels and rising sea levels, salt water is now mixing with fresh water in the capital Bangkok and affecting the salinity of tap water. Many residents have reported salty water coming in their kitchen and bathrooms. Somkiet Prachamwong, secretary-general of the office of national water resources, said they were taking emergency measures to resolve the drought. He said: "The drought is a bad situation and now we have to handle the brackish water from the drought. "We have coordinated with government departments to establish a temporary centre that will focus on resolving the drought and its effects." The government set up a water command centre to coordinate its response and allocated six billion baht (198 million USD) for steps to prevent shortages. Surapong Sarapa, head of forecasting at the agency said: ''Drought has come earlier this year, and it’s affecting both water for agriculture as well as for drinking. More parts of the country than in the past could be impacted.'' The earliest drought started with the Mekong river that has been running dry since neighbouring Laos started to operate the Xayaburi hydroelectric power dam in mid-2019. While drying up of the Yom river in the northern region has been caused partly by a lack of rain and also due to farmers tapping into river water to water their crops. The Yom river is one of the three river that merge into Chao Phraya river that running all over the Bangkok metropolitan area. Since the Yom river dried up the Chao Phraya has been running low and the higher salt water from the Thai gulf has flowed into the river and caused the brackish water.

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