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Cambodia forecast for heavy rains, floods

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Dark clouds gather over Phnom Penh skyline. This year’s rainy season will arrive in the first week of May, according to the ministry. Hong Menea

Cambodia forecast for heavy rains, floods

This year’s rainy season could see some provinces in the Mekong River Basin catchment area and the central lowlands along the rivers vulnerable to floods, according to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology’s first annual Mekong River flood forecast.

The forecast was announced earlier this week after a group of meteorologists and hydrologists determined that Cambodia was affected by weather that was 10 per cent El Nino (hot), 30 per cent La Nina (cold), and 60 per cent Neutral.

It said these conditions would cause heavy rainfall across the country.

The Mekong, Tonle Sap and Tonle Bassac rivers’ water levels are now higher than or close to the average of many years ago.

“Referring to the current Mekong River’s situation, weather factor and analysis on the relation between minimum and maximum water levels … in 2021, the water level may reach 9.30m, which is considered a medium flood," water resources minister Lim Kean Hor said.

He said that from May to October, there will be heavy rainfall in both the Mekong River Basin and across Cambodia, which is likely to trigger floods in the middle or at the end of the rainy season.

On the afternoon of May 4, Ministry spokesman Chan Yutha called on people and authorities in the Mekong Basin and the central lowlands adjacent to the Mekong River and its tributaries in Cambodia to increase vigilance.

"Right now, the water level of the Mekong River is still low, but it is likely to rise faster between August and September. Therefore, the people and relevant authorities should be better prepared to respond to and reduce the risk of floods that may occur this year," he said.

Keo Vy, a senior adviser at the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), told The Post that to respond to and reduce the risk of floods, NCDM has already prepared the resources necessary to rescue people vulnerable to floods.

"At the moment, our team is helping build houses and provide food to families affected by the typhoon and lightning strikes, as well as families affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. As for our response to floods, we are ready, even though there are no floods yet," he said.

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