Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government issues warning of El Nino drought




Government issues warning of El Nino drought

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Drought at Toumnub Dach village Obichaon commune Ochrau district in Banteay Meanchey province in 2016. Hong Menea

Government issues warning of El Nino drought

The government on Thursday issued a statement raising concerns of a drought, as El Nino threatens to cast a prolonged dry spell when it hits the Kingdom in April and May.

In the statement, Prime Minister Hun Sen appealed to residents and the authorities to be ready for the probable troubling effects caused by the weather phenomenon.

Temperatures are forecast to soar up to 42 degrees Celsius and with some thunderstorms, coupled with strong winds that will sweep through some parts of the country during the warm cycle.

Farmers are advised to delay the next rice production cycle, which traditionally runs from May to November, and divert water to irrigate other crops instead.

The statement calls for the preservation of water on “reservoirs, natural ponds and lakes” and suggests that people use less water for daily activities.

The authorities are to prepare to mitigate the impacts caused by El Nino, particularly among “vulnerable communities”, it said.

Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology spokesman Chan Yutha on Thursday briefly explained the weather pattern and recalled the 2015-16 El Nino, saying: “It is the warming of the ocean surface in central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. In 2016, it affected two-thirds of the planet.”

In Cambodia alone, he said, tens of thousands of people were affected.

Several provinces in the south, west and north of the Kingdom – such as Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear – saw temperatures rising between 40 and 42 degrees Celcius, Yutha said.

Banteay Meanchey’s Mongkol Borei and Sisophon districts were hit badly by El Nino in 2016, he continued. About 10 million cubic metres of water was distributed to the residents of the two districts from Kamping Puoy lake, located 110km away.

The World Health Organisation estimated that more than 60 million people, particularly in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Asia-Pacific region, as well as eastern and southern Africa, were affected due to the extreme events.

Yutha said Cambodia is more prepared now, having had prior experience in dealing with the extreme events.

“Our concern is people would start planting rice in the next season. This would be a problem because of the possible drought, and rice crops require a lot of water.”

He said 11 working groups from the ministry have been sent to the countryside to inform people not to start the next rice production cycle now and to save water.

Ly Sary, Banteay Meanchey Deputy Governor said water shortage has started to occur in Svay Chek and Preah Netr Preah districts. The provincial authorities, he said, have asked the National Committee for Disaster Management for help.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • Passing the test: Is Cambodia’s education system failing its people?

    The Kingdom’s education system needs to grow its people but some flaws might stifle​ this growth Coming from the Khmer Rouge occupation, with the loss of many scholars and academicians and a collapsed government, the education system had to be reconstructed from scratch – one

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia