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Tropical storm Gaemi weakens on approach

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The strength of Tropical Storm Gaemi had decreased by the time it hit Cambodia yesterday morning, Prime Minister Hun Sen said.

The torrential rain that lashed the country over the weekend had been expected to be a mere warm-up for what lay ahead when Tropical Storm Gaemi hit Cambodia.

Hun Sen said yesterday, however, that he was less concerned about the storm after receiving a report from Water Minister Lim Kean Hor.

“At 7am, the storm was in Stung Treng province at a speed of 25 kilometres per hour after it was in Vietnam yesterday at 55 kilometres per hour,” he said, adding it would hit Siem Reap about 7pm last night.

A letter signed by Hun Sen and released on Friday, said Gaemi was expected to stick around for three days, bringing with it heavy rains, high winds and possible flooding.

“Take more care and stay on the highest alert and take proactive steps to decrease and minimise the eventual accidents,” the letter reads.

The letter also said that Gaemi had been expected to hit the northern provinces of Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Stung Treng, Kratie, Kampong Cham, Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear.

Other affected provinces were tipped to include Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Pailin, Pursat, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Takeo, Kandal, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng and Phnom Penh.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology yesterday said the rains that have fallen since Thursday are also attributable to the storm, which has been brewing in the South China Sea.

Oum Ryna, ministry’s acting director, said “it will still rain until October 9 because of the storm, and it will be normal, seasonal rain afterwards.”

Pao Hormphan, governor of Ratanakkiri province, said yesterday that rains had slackened in his province, but high winds remained a concern.

Banteay Meanchey governor Oung Oeun said weather in his province was normal.

Keo Vy, spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management, said the general flood situation was under control, but that, as of Friday, floods have killed 18.

Another victim was discovered yesterday morning in Preah Vihear province’s Kampong Pranak commune, officials said. The 52-year-old man was thought to have fallen into the river after a drinking session in Preah Vihear town.

“We repeatedly warned people not to drink when the floods increase,” commune chief Kok Chhuon said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phak Seangly at seangly.phak@phnompenhpost.com

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