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Seven provinces hit by drought, ministry uses pumps to save crops

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A farmer tends his dried up paddy field in Kampong Speu province’s Keong Pisey district amid a drought in 2012. Heng Chivoan

Seven provinces hit by drought, ministry uses pumps to save crops

Some 39,966ha of paddy fields across seven provinces have been hit by drought, with the Ministry of Water Resources and authorities using pumps to save crops in areas near sources of water.

Officials said the drought in these areas could continue for more than another month.

National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman Keo Vy told The Post on Thursday that 17,647ha of paddy fields in Banteay Meanchey province have been hit by drought, as well as 7,723ha in Battambang, 7,563ha in Kampong Thom and 5,398ha in Kampong Cham.

Around 515ha of paddy fields in Oddar Meanchey, 620ha in Prey Veng and 500ha in Pursat are also affected.

“In some areas, we are pumping in water to save the rice crops, while in others we have been able to find new sources of water. Some areas do not have nearby water sources and will have to wait for rain. The situation has arisen because most of the north and northwest has seen only limited rain,” Vy said.

Say Sophat, the director of the Pailin Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told The Post on Thursday that 6,000 out of 7,000ha of corn in Pailin had been lost to drought since May, while more than 1,000ha of cassava had also been affected.

“Villagers will have to grow their corn again, but as there are now a lot of insects and they will have to wait for rain, they will be reluctant to again grow large amounts.”

The Post could not reach Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology spokesman Chan Yutha for comment on Thursday.

However, the ministry has forecast medium to heavy rains in coastal provinces from last Tuesday to Monday.

Medium to heavy rains have been predicted in Phnom Penh and low-lying provinces, the southern plains and central areas, and eastern provinces bordering Vietnam over the same period.

The northwest and plateau areas are to get light to medium rains.

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