The recent flooding in the Mekong River system has claimed at least 15 lives over the past three weeks, submerging 28,542 hectares of agricultural crops in provinces along the river, according to National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman Keo Vy.
“Around 3,800 hectares of paddy fields have been destroyed by the floods, while 15 people have died from drowning as of Sunday, nine of them in Kampong Cham alone. Seven of the 15 were children,” he said.
Vy said floods caused by heavy rains in provinces along the coast and in Stung Treng province after a Lao dam collapse had not resulted in any tragic incidents. Only the Mekong floods have continued to inflict casualties.
“Floods in provinces along the Mekong are receding. If the water remains at today’s level, there should be no worry,” he said.
Among the provinces that have been inundated, Prey Veng has borne the brunt, with 1,400 hectares of paddy fields submerged.
This was followed by Stung Treng, Kratie, Tbong Khmum, Kampong Cham and Kandal.
A report dated August 7 from Prey Veng authorities said 41 communes in Peamro, Preah Sdech, Sithor Kandal, Kamchay Mear, Pea Raing, Po Rieng and Peam Chor districts, and the provincial capital had been affected.
Provincial agriculture department director Uk Samnang said Prey Veng had suffered from both floods and drought.
“This year, people in Prey Veng started farming earlier than the year before, with 90 per cent of land already planted. Unfortunately, the weather has not been favourable, causing both drought and floods.”
Drought, according to the report, affected a total of 9,561 hectares in four districts: 1,870 hectares in Kampong Trabek, 2,113 hectares in Svay Antor, 2,678 hectares in Preah Sdech and 2,900 hectares in Bar Phnom.
In Kampong Cham province, agriculture department deputy director Sim Thavireak said that 166 villages in 42 communes had been flooded, with 22,335 families affected, while 4,543 hectares of paddy fields, 466 hectares of corn farms and 629 hectares of other agricultural land had been submerged.
“There is no drought in Kampong Cham province, just flooding. The authority has created a disaster management committee to handle the hardship,” he said.