Flood Warnings Expected for Swollen Mekong

Water levels along the Mekong river are reaching emergency levels, and officials on different sections of the river say they expect to issue flood warnings in the coming days.

“Kratie province will declare a state of emergency because of flooding [today],” Long Saravuth, deputy director of the Hydrology Department at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said on Sunday

Water levels in Kratie province are as high as 22 meters in some places, he said.

The Mekong has reached nine meters in Phnom Penh, one meter short of the flood warning level for the river; and Stung Treng province, with a water level of 10.7 meters, has already issued flood warnings, Long Saravuth said.

Stung Treng provincial officials said that hundreds of hectares of rice fields have been flooded for a week. They fear that crops might be destroyed if the water takes time to recede.

Kompong Cham province declared a state of emergency on Saturday, said Kong Chhoeurn, director of the provincial Agriculture Department.

More than 100 hectares of rice fields have been flooded in O’Reang-ou and Srei Santhor districts, and the drainage system in Kompong Cham town has been closed for fear of flooding, he said, adding that sandbags have been deployed along the river.

“There are some families that have been evacuated to higher grounds, but I am not aware [if any] people may have drowned or died,” Kong Chhoeurn said.

Officials in all provinces along the Mekong have been working hard to prevent flood damage as much as possible by warning people ahead of time, Long Saravuth said.

“Everything is still unclear,” he said. “We have to be careful all the time. Our worries will only end in early October.”


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