Ready for the drought - Govt prepares drinking water reserves for rural areas

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The Global New Light of Myanmar

Aye Min Soe

THE government is carrying out preparations for El Niño, requesting public assistance in the transportation of water and tube-wells to rural areas. The Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development announced yesterday that people in rural areas will face a scarcity of drinking water due to droughts caused by El Niño, which is expected to hit the country from March to May. The ministry has called on donors to contact the Rural Development Departments in their region and states to contribute to funds to pay members of the public for assisting in the transportation of water to drought-affected areas. These preparations come two days after the government’s weather bureau urged authorities to prepare for record-breaking temperature this summer. The Meteorology and Hydrology Department has predicted that Myanmar will experience droughts and high temperatures due to El Niño in March, April and May. The government urged those involved in the agriculture, food security, water supply, electricity, health, fishery, water transportation and tourism sectors to take precautionary measures. Meanwhile, the Myanmar Rice Federation has urged the government to buy rice to bolster the state reserves. The Myanmar Fisheries Federation also warned of the impact of El Niño on fish farming, calling for necessary measures to be undertaken to avoid possible losses.

Local non-governmental organisations in regions and states are also bracing for El Niño with plans to supply water to villages in the summer. The group will collect water from tube-wells in Thazi Township and supply it to people when they face water shortages.

International meteorological organisations have predicted that Myanmar will face its strongest El Niño weather pattern during the first half of 2016. Meteorologists warned that due to the El Niño effect, temperatures will be above average, and temperatures are expected to break records in March, April and May. Myanmar’s current highest temperature—47.2 degrees—was recorded in Myinmu amid an El Niño system in 2010.