Drought uncovers lost Thai temple

Drought uncovers lost Thai temple


Thousands of people are flocking to see a Buddhist temple in central Thailand that has now been exposed after drought drove water levels to record lows in a dam reservoir where it had been submerged.

As the reservoir reaches less than 3% of capacity, the remains of Wat Nong Bua Yai, a modern temple submerged during construction of the dam 20 years ago, have became visible. Some monks were among the hundreds who walked through broken temple structures on earth littered with dead fish last week to pay respects to a headless 4-metre (13-feet) Buddha statue, adorning it with flowers.

'The temple is normally covered by water. In the rainy season you don't see anything," said one of the visitors, a 67-year-old retired teacher.

He regretted the temple flooding but is now worried about the damage the drought is causing to farmers,  he added.

The dam, with capacity of 960 million cubic meters, irrigates  1.3 million acres of farmland in four provinces, but drought has cut that to just 3,000 acres.

The meteorological department says Thailand is facing its worst drought in a decade, with water levels in dams nationwide having fallen far short of the monthly average.