A section of the Mekong riverbank in Kratie province, in Chhlong district’s Chhlong commune, gradually collapsed between Friday and Sunday due to strong-flowing waters, district police chief Chhong Toran told The Post.
He said on Sunday that the collapse had destroyed three houses, and there was concern for some 100 families in the area, but no humans or animals had been harmed.
Toran said since the three houses were destroyed, he and his specialists had assessed several times the plight of residents living near the collapsed riverbank, and 17 homes had been evacuated.
The riverbank collapsed on three consecutive mornings starting on Friday, he said.
“The stretch of the Mekong riverbank that collapsed is more than 100m long. The Kratie provincial authorities and specialists have put up signs advising people not to enter the area where the bank is collapsing.
“They have asked the national level authorities to immediately send technical officials to assess the damage and repair it,” Toran said.
Provincial governor Var Thorn was unavailable for comment on Sunday, and deputy provincial governor Sreng Sopheap said he was aware of the collapse but did not yet have full details.
Toran said there was no sand dredging being conducted, as specialists had prohibited businesses from doing so in that area.
He said it was a natural disaster as the riverbank was prone to collapse due to the strong-flowing waters. “When the water recedes, it makes the bank collapse. When there are waves, they cause landslides,” Toran said.
Neither Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology secretary of state and spokesman Chan Yutha nor provincial Department of Water Resources and Meteorology director Heng Rothamonida could be reached for comment on Sunday.
National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman Keo Vy said that since Friday, there had also been riverbank collapses in Kandal province’s Mok Kampoul district and Tbong Khmum province, but no people or animals had been injured.
“I haven’t yet received detailed reports, but the authorities have kept me informed. A few houses fell into the river and some agricultural land has also collapsed.
“The incidents were natural disasters – when the water rises and falls, the riverbank is prone to collapse.
“This is the season of rising water and about 22km of riverbank has collapsed. We have only carried out measurements in Stung Treng, Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum and Kratie provinces so far.
“We have yet to assess Kandal province because it has just experienced its first collapse. Specialists have arrived there to warn residents to avoid dangerous locations.
“Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology specialists have studied the flow of the water in an attempt to prevent the riverbank collapsing further,” he said.