Muddy Floods Mire Stung Treng Province Fields

Roughly 4,377 hectares of rice fields are under muddy floodwaters in Stung Treng province, where the Mekong River has risen to warning levels this week after relentless rains.

Khak Kham San, the province’s general secretary and permanent secretary for the provincial disaster committee, said his primary concern is an outbreak of malaria and water-borne diseases in the stricken area, which did not reach emergency levels requiring villagers’ evacuation.

He also voiced the concern that the submerged rice crops will be ruined if the water recedes slowly.

Stung Treng officials said the gradually receding river reached a water level of 10.5 meters Tuesday morning, roughly 10 points lower than Monday but still considered at the warning level.

However, it’s expected that flood­­waters will not recede quickly since the river’s water levels are re­portedly rising upstream at Laos’s Pakse province.

“When Pakse is still high, the water level downstream is threatening,” Khak Kham San said.

Veng Sokhon, secretary of state for the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, maintained that the Mekong River poses no serious threat to any Cambodian villages at the moment. Village authorities continue to keep a close watch over the rushing river nonetheless.                        Kompong Cham authorities have been taking turns keeping awake to watch the swollen river so they can try to prevent floodwaters from reaching the provincial town, said Nhim Vanda, first deputy president of the National Committee for Disaster Manage­ment.

“Officials are pumping sewage water out of the sewers and dumping sandbags along the riverbank to protect Kompong Cham town,” he said.

Nhim Vanda emphasized that in addition to flooding concerns, drought in the lowlands was an ongoing concern.

“We still worry more about the continuous drought in lowland provinces if there is no rain [there] by the end of this month,” he said. “Food security will be a big problem.”

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