At least 8 have died in flooding in provinces bordering the Mekong River and downstream water levels could rise even higher in coming days, provincial officials said Friday.
At least three children and three adults have drowned after falling off of boats in Kompong Cham’s Tbong Khmum, Koh Sotin, Batheay and Srei Santhor districts, said Kompong Cham Governor Chieng Am.
At least 3,000 families have been forced to evacuate to high ground as water levels reached 15.82 meters, Chieng Am said. Authorities have built a 5 km-long, meter-high dike of sandbags to protect the provincial town and are pumping water out, he said.
New wells have been dug for safe water in evacuation areas and families are being supplied with tarp and other temporary housing supplies, he said.
In Kratie, two children drowned while playing near their houses, said First Deputy Governor Vorn Chhunly. Altogether, 17,000 families have experienced flooding and 3,500 families have been forced to higher ground, he said.
The flooding has destroyed 10,000 hectares of crops in Kratie, he said. Water levels reached 22.48 meters Friday.
Further upstream, water levels remained still in Stung Treng at 11.53 meters due to a lack of heavy rain in Laos, said provincial Secretary General Khak Kham Sann.
Kratie and Stung Treng have been spared by the drought that has also plagued Cambodia this year, though Kompong Cham’s Batheay and Srei Santhor have been affected, emergency officials reported this week.
Prime Minister Hun Sen Friday ordered local authorities to evacuate citizens to safe, high ground, the Council of Ministers reported Friday.
“The drought hasn’t finished yet and the flood is coming,” Hun Sen told reporters.
The worst may be yet to come. Mekong River levels in Thailand are at their highest levels since 1966, Bangkok’s The Nation newspaper reported this week.