El Nino dry spell wreaks havoc in Myanmar

At least 10 regions of Myanmar are facing severe water shortages due to searing summer temperatures brought on by El Nino, leading to dried up wells, ponds and rivers.

The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) predicted that temperatures from March until May this year will continue to exceed 47.2 degrees on a daily basis in central Myanmar and the outskirts of Yangon, putting crops at risk, EFE news reported.

Some 1,000 households in the 54,000-km of ‘Dry Zone’ area encompassing Magway, Mandalay and lower Sagaing regions, have faced water shortages since mid-January, according to the United Church of Christ (UCC) which runs livelihoods programmes in the area.

Even people living in towns on the outskirts of Yangon are now receiving water deliveries to cope with the shortage, according to an EPA journalist based in Yangon.

The Dry Zone is home to some 58 million people who rely on growing crops including sesame, beans and peas and have been hard hit by low levels of rainfall in 2016, as cited by the Myanmar Insider newspaper.

Last year in the Asia Pacific region, the effects of the El Nino phenomenon sent temperatures skyrocketing, with the extreme conditions region wide causing financial losses up to $21 billion, according to science organisation Climate Central.

Source: Business Standard

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