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Preventive measures for risky drought areas

Concrerns that a drought may soon grip some of Cambodia’s provinces intensified after the government allocated thousands of cubic metres of water to more than 20,000 hectares of dried rice paddies in a mission to save valuable rice crops last weekend.

Although the rainy season has cloaked parts of the country in heavy rain, areas in Kampong Speu, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Takeo, Oddar Meanchey, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces have had little relief.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has allocated water supplies to at-risk areas, diverting water through vast canals and equipping farmers with machinery to dig channels, according to ministry spokesman Chan Yutha.

He said if the water had not been dumped, many of the rice crops could have been wiped out within weeks.

“The Ministry of Water diverts water supplies to huge canals in those provinces with drought and then the farmer can continue to water their rice field,” he said.

“We need to prevent an emergency.”

In June, the National Committee for Disaster Management voiced concerns about a potential drought, after reports from the north and northeast of damaged crops trickled in.

“Some areas face floods and some face drought, that is why we must prepare first. For a drought, if no one saves water, it will create damage,” deputy director of the Department of Information at the NCDM, Keo Vy, said yesterday.

According to agriculture officials in Kampong Speu, there are 3,000 rice paddies in the province facing devastation, while 800 hectares have already been destroyed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sen David at david.sen@phnompenhpost.com

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