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Government warns of storm-related flooding in coastal provinces

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The rains have caused flooding in low-lying areas in the city of Preah Sihanouk province. Supplied

Government warns of storm-related flooding in coastal provinces

The government has warned those living in coastal provinces and areas along the Vietnamese border to be cautious as Cambodia braces for a spate of storms this week.

The warning came after The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology stated on Sunday that Cambodia might be affected by Tropical Storm Lekima that had hit the northern Philippines and is now heading towards Japan.

However, this time, the ministry spokesman and secretary of state Chan Yutha said unpredictable weather pattern would impact Cambodia “like never before” until Saturday.

Speaking to The Post on Wednesday, Yutha said especially the coastal provinces – such as Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk – and areas near the Vietnamese border – such as Kratie and Tbong Khmum provinces – would receive more rains than any other region in the Kingdom.

“[Strong] winds and [heavy] rains will continue hitting those areas. [It is worthwhile to mention that] the winds could go between 15 to 20 metres per second and that floods might occur in many places,” he said.

National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) spokesman Keo Vy said on Wednesday that heavy rainfalls had inundated about 29ha of paddy fields in Kep province, and destroyed various crops in other provinces. But he said the situation had not reached a critical stage.

Floods also occurred in Battambang province, he said, while Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, and Kampong Thom provinces suffered from drought.

“This year, the floods have not caused major problems because the water levels have not reached a critical stage, unlike last year,” Vy said.

He said a primary solution to release flooding in Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong provinces is by using machinery to restore canals. He said the two coastal provinces have seen rapid development over the past year, while sewage systems were not good enough to handle flooding.

Vy said while he was optimistic that flood caused by heavy rainfall would not have a major impact, strong winds could easily damage properties in coastal areas.

“Due to the timely announcement of the weather phenomena, the authorities can make sufficient preparation to rescue people in case of emergencies,” he said.

Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesman Kheang Phearum said heavy rains over the past few days had made four communes in the province vulnerable.

“The rains have caused flooding in low-lying areas in the city, albeit not completely. But the flooding does not last long either, while the lowest-lying areas will be flooded a little longer,” he said.

In Stung Treng province, where heavy flooding took a heavy toll last year, certain districts in low-lying areas had been partly flooded due to heavy rain.

Provincial Hall spokesman Men Kong said: “Now there is no heavy flooding yet. There is only a little rain that caused a small flood for two to three hours and then receded. There is nothing serious yet in our province.”

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