Officials warn flooding could head south next
Flooding in Stung Treng and Kratie provinces has affected more than 5,000 homes, forcing over 40 families to evacuate and resulting in at least one death, officials said yesterday. If river levels continue to rise, officials warned, more than 1,000 hectares of rice paddy will be destroyed.
“[We] have declared an emergency in Stung Treng and Kratie provinces. These provinces have been flooded,” said Nhim Vanda, the National Committee for Disaster Management’s first vice chairman.
Mr Vanda said that the committee has ordered authorities in both provinces to assist affected families.
Stung Treng governor Loy Sophat said that water levels in his province rose overnight from 10.8 meters Thursday to 10.88 meters Friday, about 0.18 meters above emergency levels.
More than 1,000 houses have been flooded in Siem Bok and Thala Barivat districts, as well as in Stung Treng City. More than 40 families have been evacuated from their homes in Thala Barivat.
“The situation is becoming more and more serious,” Mr Sophat said.
Kratie provincial police chief Chuong Sieng Hak said that up to one meter of water has seeped into more than 4,000 households.
“It has flooded five of six districts in the province,” he said, adding that Snuol district is the only district not yet affected.
Mr Sieng Hak said that water levels have reached 21.67 meters and though that is still 0.13 meters below the official emergency level, authorities have declared an emergency in the area.
“When the water rises to 22.5 meters, it would flood the market in the center of Kratie town and then the town,” he said, adding that he is concerned that flooding will collapse the riverbank.
Police and provincial authorities have stockpiled food and other supplies and are prepared to assist families if flood levels continue to rise, Mr Sieng Hak said.
Sambor district governor Heng Sokha said that more than 1,000 hectares of rice paddy has been flooded in his district.
“If it continues to flood for one more week, the [paddy] will be destroyed,” he said, adding that roads and some bridges are also flooded.
Provincial authorities along with the Cambodian Red Cross have donated food and sleeping supplies to the evacuated families, Mr Sokha said.
Sareth Oeun, chief of Prek Prasap district’s Sorb commune, said that 76-year-old Som Kruy drowned Thursday in the flood.
“He slid on the step [of his house] and fell into the flood water outside his home and drowned,” Mr Oeun said, adding that Mr Kruy was alone at the house when he died.
Chan Youttha, cabinet chief for the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said that water levels in Stung Treng should start to subside today and that levels in the upper Mekong River had already started to subside.
Water levels in Kratie should start to subside by Sunday, he added.
Mr Youttha said that because water levels have risen slowly over the past week, authorities were able to adequately warn people before flooding reached their homes.
However, Mr Youttha warned, flooding is expected to move south and residents in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district should be on alert.
“We worry at Koh Khel [water station]. The water will come out from the river in the next few days, so people and authorities must be alert and prepare everything to help,” he said.