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.