Erosion Threatens River Dwellers’ Homes, Lives

The continuing downpour in the mountainous areas in neighboring Laos and Vietnam is swel­ling the Mekong River, causing  some Cam­bodian government of­ficials to worry about riverbank erosion.

Phnom Penh Municipality last week warned that dwellers living al­ong the Mekong, the Ton­le Sap and Bassac rivers should take precautions due to pos­­sible riverbank erosion caused by in­creased river current.

Prek Leap commune chief Preap Mony said Monday that four families living in Russei Keo district’s Prek Leap commune were forced to move their homes in Ktor village be­cause of riverbank erosion due to the rising water level of the Me­kong.

Preap Mony said that eight other families in the village are ready to move if erosion continues. “If the riverbank still continues to collapse, about 70 to 80 other families will be moving,” he said.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mob Sarin said he visited the dam­aged village on Sunday and tried to find them a safe place.

Prek Leap commune police chief Keo Noeun said that if the villagers do not dismantle their hous­es, they risk their lives.

Veng Sokhon, secretary of state at the Ministry of Water Re­sources and Meteorology, said Monday that he has seen water ris­ing on the Mekong, but that City Hall should not worry be­cause the swell will likely not reach alarming levels.

“Our ministry is not so worried, because the level now is far lower than the emergency level,” he said, adding that he is also con­cern­ed about erosion.

“The collapse of the riverbank be­come our first concern as the Me­kong level rises,” Veng Sokhon said, adding that the Mekong in Cambodia runs zigzag, and is thus vulnerable to erosion.

On Monday, water level was measured at 10.29 meters in Stung Treng province and 8.11 me­ters in Phnom Penh’s Chak­to­muk station, according to the Ministry of Water Resource’s Hy­dro­logy Department.

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