2,000 R’kiri Families Evacuated Due to Flooding

About 2,000 Ratanakkiri pro­vince families were evacuated after a tropical storm brought flooding to northeastern Cambodia the weekend of Aug 4, officials said.

Ratanakkiri Governor Muong Poy said that around 2,000 families from Lumphat and Kon Mom districts were evacuated to higher ground Aug 5 and 6 after their homes were submerged. “We helped villagers get away from the flood,” he said.

The Ministry of Water Re­s­ources and Meteorology issued a directive Aug 6, alerting villagers who live along rivers throughout the country to take precautions against possible flashfloods over the next few days. Long Saravuth, meteorology director for the ministry, said that the rains were the result of a tropical depression from the South China Sea.

The heaviest rains were forecasted to fall along the coast on Aug 5 and 6, and in the north and northeastern highlands Aug 6 through 8, he said.

Already downpours have caused an abrupt rise of the Mekong River’s water levels in Stung Treng and Kratie provinces, said Mao Hak, director of the ministry’s Hydrology and River Works Department.

Between Aug 5 and 6, the Mekong rose 1.28 meters in Stung Treng province, bringing the depth to 7.68 meters, he said. In the same period it rose 0.7 meters in Kratie province, bringing the depth to 16.58 meters.

“Fishermen [on the Mekong] have to stay alert…because the flood could come any time and so quickly. Otherwise they could drown and their fishing tools could be destroyed,” Mao Hak said.

Floodwaters flowing downstream are expected to raise the Mekong’s levels in Kompong Cham and other provinces along its course, he said. Phnom Penh, however, is not currently threatened with flooding, Mao Hak added.

Nhim Vanda, first vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said Aug 6 that the government has taken precautions and is prepared to help people in any emergency situation. z

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