The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has warned of heavy rains and flooding in 14 northern and coastal provinces ahead of tropical storm Nock-Ten, which is expected to hit Cambodia today.
With winds expected to reach up to 90 km per hour, Nock Ten will come in through the northeast of the country from the South China Sea and is expected to raise water levels in the Mekong river from Saturday until Tuesday, according to a statement released by the ministry.
“The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology would like to inform authorities and provinces…and especially fishermen, please raise attention and be very careful to avoid accidents,” the statement, signed by Minister Lim Kean Hor, said.
Nock-Ten, named after a Laotian bird, is already responsible for at least 41 deaths in the Philippines this week.
Highland provinces in the north and northeast—Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, Kratie, Ratanakkiri, and Mondolkiri—will experience strong winds and rain that will cause flooding, the statement said. Lowland provinces-Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Kompong Cham and Kompong Thom-are also expected to experience flooding. Provinces situated along the coast—Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep—are expected to see waves reach levels between one and 2.5 meters high.
Keo Vy, deputy director of the National Committee for Disaster Management’s information department, said yesterday that authorities in the 14 provinces have been notified of the storm warning and that preparations have been made to limit damage and casualties.
“All provincial authorities are prepared to help and the Cambodian Red Cross has prepared emergency food relief,” he said, adding that he is concerned that flood levels could reach the levels seen during typhoon Ketsana in 2009.
Ketsana wreaked havoc in October 2009, as an estimated 48,000 families across 15 provinces lost their rice stocks and 62,000 hectares of paddy were destroyed. The total damage was calculated at $130 million and repairs to roads are still ongoing.
“If [Nock-ten] is similar to Ketsana, it will cause serious flooding,” Mr Vy said.
However, Ministry of Water Resources Cabinet Chief Chan Youttha said that Nock-ten is expected to be weaker than Ketsana, but “it will still have a strong effect.”
“The fishermen have to pay close attention and they should not leave home for fishing,” he said.
Heng Sorphoanrith, deputy director of Preah Sihanouk’s department of water resources, said that storm warnings have been issued through radio broadcasts and to district offices.
“We also informed the tourism department to pass this information to tourists to be careful,” he said, adding that national road 4, between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, is expected to be flooded.
Ly Nos, a fisherman in Kampot province, said that he will not set sail until the storm passes.
“Fishermen have a difficult time fishing in the rainy season because of heavy rain and wind,” he noted.