[QODLink]
Weather

Drought hits Southeast Asia

Malaysia, Singapore and southern Thailand have been hit by an unusual spell of hot dry weather.

Last updated: 26 Feb 2014 13:36
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Extreme low rainfallhas resulted in water rationing for 45,000 people in Selangor state, which surrounds Malaysia’s capital [AFP]

A month-long drought has hit parts of Malaysia and southern Thailand. This has led to water shortages and an increased threat of wildfires. Agricultural production has also been affected.

The region experiences heavy rainfall throughout the year although in areas sheltered from the effects of the northeasterly monsoon during January, February and early March, rainfall is significantly lower.

Nevertheless, the decrease in rainfall over the last month has been dramatic. Kuala Lumpur, for instance can expect 200mm of rain in February yet, to date, barely 7mm has fallen across the city.

This has resulted in water rationing for 45,000 people in Selangor state, which surrounds Malaysia’s capital.

“The supply of water in Selangor state is in a critical condition,” Khalid Ibrahim, the state’s chief minister said on Tuesday. “The water levels at a few dams have been shrinking to reach an alarming state.”

The dry weather has been accompanied by above-average temperatures which have contributed to an elevated fire risk.

The hot weather is also being linked to an increase in dengue fever, as rising temperatures quicken the life cycle of the aedes mosquito that carries the virus.  Deaths from the disease have risen to 25, compared with eight in the same period last year.

There are concerns that agricultural production will be hit, as the sector’s economy relies heavily on palm oil, cocoa and rubber production.

The drought, which began in January, has hit Singapore, which has recorded less than 75mm of rain since the beginning of the year with just 0.2mm during February, a month which would normally report 170mm.

The drought may be linked to a developing El Nino in the western Pacific, where ocean temperatures are significantly warmer than average.

295

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Indonesia's digerati could be crucial to success in the country's upcoming presidential election.
How Brazil's football legend turned every Corinthians' match into a political meeting for democracy.
As the Pakistani army battles Taliban forces, civilians in North Waziristan face an arduous escape for relative safety.
Nepalese trade in a libido-boosting fungus is booming but experts warn over-exploitation could destroy ecosystem.
Featured
Palestinian families fear Israel's night-time air strikes, as the civilian death toll soars in the Gaza Strip.
China still uses labour camps to silence democracy activists and others it considers malcontents.
Myanmar's Karen veterans of WWII, despite being abandoned by the British, recall their service with fondness.
Sri Lanka refugees stranded on a boat near Australia's shoreline are in legal limbo and fear torture if sent home.
The death of Hamed Shehab on Wednesday in an Israeli air strike has triggered fear and anger among journalists in Gaza.
join our mailing list