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Droughts hit Thailand and India, risking stress on food supplies

Rice producers see further export cut; Australia scrambles to import wheat

Women fetch water from an opening made by residents at a dried-up lake in Chennai, India on June 11.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Persistently dry weather in parts of Asia and Oceania has caused the most severe droughts in years, raising fears of economic and social impacts on the regions' communities. Thailand is now facing reduced production -- and therefore exports -- of rice, and Australia, usually an exporter of wheat, is rushing to import the commodity.

Somkiat Prajamwong, secretary-general at Thailand's office of national water resources, warned last week that 83 districts in 20 provinces in the country's north and northeast regions are "at critical risk of water shortages."

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