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Lack of rain in Cambodia causes worry

Lack of rain in Cambodia causes worry

120629_05
A boy walks on parched land on the outskirts of Phnom Penh last year. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

Despite the woes brought on by 2011’s flood-riddled Year of the Dragon, officials at the National Committee for Disaster Management yesterday expressed concern that if some of those Dragon-like rains fail to appear in the next week, the Kingdom’s crops will suffer.

Anxiety about a potential drought began this week as reports began to filter into the NCDM from north and northeastern provinces that a lack of rain in the past month had already begun to cause damage to rice seedlings and crops.

Keo Vy, deputy director of the Department of Information at the NCDM, said yesterday that it was too early too call conditions a “severe drought”, but that some provinces were beginning to face difficulties with bad rain patterns and that the next week would be crucial.

According to Vy, Battambang, Pursat and Pailin are reaching a critical point in a poor rainfall pattern that will damage crops if it continues.

“We wait and see, and we are worried if there is no rain for about one week or 10 days more, it will affect their crops,” he said, adding he could not say definitively what sort of damage had already been caused to crops or what other provinces were facing similar difficulties.

Vy said the expected rains were being thrown off-kilter by unusual weather patterns that have caused storms in some areas and a lack of rain in others.

Pursat province’s Bakan district governor, Sao Saroeun, said yesterday there had been scant rainfall in the district for more than a month, creating problems for rice crops in some communes.

“We are concerned over the rain problem, but will seek intervention [from nearby areas to] pump water to save their rice as much as possible if there is no rain in a short period to come,” Saroeun said.

Um Rina, director of Department of Water Resources and Meteorology, declined to comment as he was busy in a meeting.

However, Keo Vy said he had high hopes for a weather turnaround, as the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology recently announced a prediction of heavy rains throughout the country over the coming weeks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Yuthana at [email protected]

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