Long-lost underwater temple reemerges during Thailand extreme drought

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A long-lost underwater buddhist temple, called Wat Nong Bua Yai, has reemerged in central Thailand, following an extreme drought that is slowly drying up all the region’s reservoirs.

While the temple and the surrounding villages were submerged by the construction of a dam 20 years ago, now, thousands of tourists and pilgrims are visiting the holy spot to pay respect to the ruins.

An underwater Buddhist temple has reemerged during drought in Thailand. The picture shows a family praying near the ruins of a headless Buddha statue that resurfaced in a dried-up dam because of a drought in Lopburi, Thailand, on Aug. 1, 2019. Picture: © Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters/Newscom

The reservoir in which sits the temple is nearly dry (just 3% capacity).

Visitors include monks adorning a large headless statue of Buddha with flowers, and former residents of the village who are returning to see the ruins of their old home.

Once a hub of community in the surroundings villages, the buddhist temple was a place for rituals and festivities and a community hangout.

This video below by South China Morning Post clearly exposes the dire situation:

Another drought revealed the remains of Wat Nong Bua Yai once before, in 2015.

But this year’s drought is exceptional. While it’s the worst drought in over a decade for all of Thailand, some regions are facing the worst drought in 50 years. The Mekong River, which lies east of Thailand, along the border with Laos, is at its lowest level in almost 100 years.

Ironically, all this is taking place during what should be the monsoon season or the wettest season of the year in Southeast Asia.

Rice farmers, who rely on reservoirs to flood their paddies, are suffering. In May, when rice planting normally takes place, the Thai government asked these farmers to hold off for rain. It came, but it was too little, too late. Since then, the Thai government has been seeding clouds – releasing chemicals into the air that cause clouds to condense – to generate some rain and allow farmers to continue planting.

Devastating droughts currently hit Asia, with major water shortages in several countries like India and Malaysia.

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