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Swollen rivers threaten flooding threat

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River flooding in Banteay Meanchey province on Sunday. BANTEAY MEANCHEY PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION

Swollen rivers threaten flooding threat

Flash floods are still washing over roads and inundating homes in three districts of Banteay Meanchey province, while in Preah Vihear province the water level of the Stung Sen River continues to climb towards emergency levels.

The heavy rains are also causing the Mekong River to gradually flood and flow into a number of canals as well, creating potential dangers for those living in low-lying areas along the river and prompting warnings from government officials for the public to maintain a vigilant watch on the situation in their localities.

Ros Sophany, provincial deputy governor and spokeswoman for the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Administration, told The Post that many rural roads in Malai and Mongkol Borei districts and in Poipet town were presently washed out by flash floods.

“Today we’re still experiencing significant flooding in Mongkol Borei district’s Soeu, Chamnoam and Rahat Teuk communes. But the waters in Malai district and Poipet town have receded somewhat as the water flows down into the Mongkol Borei River,” she said.

According to Sophany, authorities have been actively interceding in the flooded areas to help families evacuate to safe locations.

The only possible upside to all of the precipitation of late is that it has helped some farmers grow their rice crops and boosted the total crop this year to 256,233ha of rainy-season rice under cultivation, an increase of about 1.55 per cent over the planned area of 252,320ha.

In Preah Vihear province, authorities are preparing to intervene to assist families living in the lowlands near the mouth of the Stung Sen River and its tributary streams because the water flowing down from the Dangrek mountain range is pushing the water levels of the river close to the emergency point already.

Chap Koy, director of the provincial Department of Water Resources and Meteorology, told The Post that the effects of low pressure valleys and low pressure systems in India and the weakening of the southwest monsoon had brought light to moderate rainfall to Cambodia over the upcoming week and that is leading to potential flooding in some low-lying areas along the waterways, including along the banks of the Stung Sen River.

“Although the rate of rainfall has decreased, it continues to rain and so the river level continues to rise albeit more slowly than before. As of September 16, the Stung Sen River’s water level has risen to 11.25m, very close to the alert level of 11.50m and this means caution is required,” he said.

The Mekong River in Kampong Cham province is now flooding with water flowing into its tributary systems, requiring people in the lowlands near the river and lake to exercise increased caution as they hurry their efforts to harvest crops before they are damaged by flooding, according to provincial water resources department director Om Vibol.

“The Mekong River’s water level as of September 16 is 11.92m and it has flowed into 16 of the 41 canals. The current water conditions are beneficial for growing rice in the rainy season,” he said on September 16.

He noted that in the province, rainy-season rice cultivation was at 95,209ha, equivalent to 110.07 per cent of the planned 86,500ha for this year. To date, farmers have harvested 13,977ha of the rainy-season rice, or 14.92 per cent of the total crop, with a yield of more than 3.5 tonnes of rice per hectare.

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