Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology Lim Kean Hor on September 19 ordered officials and local authorities to jointly expand the mouths of certain streams and canals in Banteay Meanchey province in order to more quickly drain the water inundating people's homes in the wake of recent flooding.
According to Chan Sinath – secretary of state at the ministry who also serves as chairman of the frontline floods working group in Banteay Meanchey province – said they are now working together to restore Ou Don Ov and Ou Makak to open the waterways to divert the excess water flow into the Tonle Sap Lake through the Ochar irrigation works.
"Once we restore those two streams, it will contribute to reduced flooding for Banteay Meanchey, and help with the problem on a whole other level," he said.
Meanwhile, Mongkol Borei district governor Roth Da Sinong told The Post that as of the morning of September 19, there were 13 families that had been evacuated to safety from his district and another 150 families that had been affected by floodwaters inundating their houses up to waist level.
"At this time, the team is continuing to monitor the situation and intervene to evacuate people to safety as the river still continues to flood," he said.
According to Da Sinong, as of the morning of September 19, there were four communes – Soeus, Chamnoam, Rahat Teuk and Bot Trang – that were severely flooded in his district due to the collapse of a drainage dam in Battambang province’s Bavel district along with water flowing from Banteay Meanchey’s Malai district after moderate rains for two consecutive nights.
Rahat Teuk commune chief Hor Samnang told The Post that the floods in six places in the commune had affected 791ha of rice crops and 509 households.
"For our local people, flooding at 0.4m to 0.5m is not a serious problem because it happens almost every year," he said.
In Oddar Meanchey province, the water level at the Ta Mok reservoir in Anlong Veng district rose to 3.82m, which is 2cm above the alert level, though authorities say the situation is still under control.
Nhean Kuon, director of the Oddar Meanchey provincial water resources department, told The Post that on the night of September 18 the moderate rainfall continued to cause the overflow of the already full Ta Mok reservoir, but flooding in the Chong Kal, Trapeang Prasat and Samrong districts had started to recede.
"The water level for the Ta Mok reservoir in Anlong Veng commune on the morning of September 19 was 3.80m, while the water level was 4.50m. We still can control the situation for now,” he said.
According to Kuon, on the night of September 18 the department’s working group excavated soil to stop the water from flowing through the back of the Trapeang Veng Dam in Samrong town’s Konkriel district and at the Chongkal Dam in Chongkal commune and district.
Kuon added that as of the morning of September 19, the team continued to dig out soil to support the backs of those dams as well as the canals and other streams in Trapaing Prasat district’s Preah Brolay commune.
Meanwhile, the water levels of the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Tonle Bassac Rivers continued to rise significantly this week, requiring residents living along these rivers to be extremely vigilant against flash floods and landslides, according to the river level forecast bulletin of the water resources ministry seen by The Post on September 19.
According to the bulletin, the water levels at Stung Treng Hydrological Station as of September 22 indicated that the Mekong River was expected to continue to flood to a height of at least 8.07m, while the alert level is set at 10.70m.
At Koh Khel station, the Tonle Bassac River was expected to continue to rise to at least 7.01m, while the alert level there is pegged at 9.9m, and at Prek Kdam station the Tonle Sap River was expected to continue to rise to at least 7.20m, while the alert level there is set at 9.50m.