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Massive Droughts In Thailand Reveal A Long-Lost Temple

A family prays near the ruins of a headless Buddha statue, which has resurfaced in a dried-up dam due to drought, in Lopburi, Thailand August 1, 2019. Picture taken August 1, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun – RC1406E81BC0


A long-lost temple has reappeared at the bed of  a dam reservoir in Thailand, which attracted many curious onlookers, tourists, and Buddhist monks to have a look there. 

According to Reuters news agency reports, the Buddhist temple of Wat Nong Bua Yai used to be the center for villagers living in  Lopburi province of Central Thailand, but the land was flooded some 20 years ago during the period of constructing the dam. At the moment, when the reservoir waters receded, and there appeared a number of the temple’s former structures and a 4-meter (13-foot) tall headless statue of Buddha sitting around a bunch of dead stranded fish.

As Somchai Ornchawiang, a 67-year-old visitor, told Reuters, the temple was covered by water in normal condition and one did not see anything during In the rainy season.

Talking about the reappearance of the Temple, Yotin Lopnikorn, headman of the Nong Bua village said that when  he was a little kid,  he often came to meet friends at the elephant sculptures in front of the main building to play there and his village was near the temple. This was his second time to see this temple in this condition.

Unfortunately, it is not a good sign to see the amazing spectacle. Parts of Thailand were suffering from the worst drought in a decade this summer. Although it was mainly due to less rainfall in the rainy season, the closure of dams in southern China was another reason for less water entering the lower Mekong basin, covering much of Southeast Asia.

The dam is primarily used to irrigate more than 1.3 million acres (526,000 hectares) of land in four provinces, therefore farmers can flood their rice paddies and farmland. In the northeastern part of Thailand, local residents have complained about their taps running dry and a lack of water in their local rice paddy fields. 

The situation in the country turned so severe that the national government of Thailand had asked China, Laos, and Myanmar to release water into their rivers so as to offer a helping hand in relieving the drought conditions downstream in Thailand. The government departments have also been considering the approach of using cloud seeding to bring rainfall. Fortunately, rain is surely coming, even if slowly on its way. However, with water levels of the dam at less than 3 percent of full capacity, the downpour can’t come soon enough. 

Droughts often have a habit of revealing structures that have been lost to dam waters. In 2017, record-breaking low rainfall and blazing temperatures in Europe parched large swathes of land in northern Europe, which made the so-called “German Atlantis”, reappear and the remains of a 3,500-year-old palace was revealed earlier this year in Iraq after a reservoir retreated.