Northern Rain Swells Mekong to Warning Levels

The Mekong River rose to warning levels this week in Stung Treng province, leaving many villages un­derwater, authorities re­ported Thurs­­day.

Caused by continuous rains in Laos, the swollen river has forced vil­­­lagers to abandon submerged rice fields and family homes in Tha­­la Barivat and Siem Bok districts, said Khak Kham San, Stung Treng se­cretary general.

“The water just [rose to flood le­­vels] but not to the stage that we have to evacuate [all] villagers from their homes,” Khak Kham San said.

Poor communications with village officials has made it difficult to de­­termine the extent of the flooding, he said. The Mekong Ri­­ver Com­mis­sion’s Web site re­ported that Stung Treng’s wa­ter level was at the “warning” stage of “yellow.” But according to Khak Kham San, the river is ac­tually 26 cm above the warning stage of 10.5 me­ters.

South of Stung Treng, water levels in Kandal province have re­mained at the “no warning” stage of “blue,” said the Web site.

Veng Sokhon, secretary of state for the Ministry of Water Re­sour­ces and Meteorology, said wa­ter le­vels in Stung Treng should de­cline in the next few days as preci­pi­tation decreases in Laos.

“We are not so worried at this stage, but we told people to take pre­caution,” Veng Sokhon said.

Water Resources Minister Lim Kean Hor issued a statement on Thurs­day, warning authorities in Si­hanoukville and Koh Kong, Ra­ta­nakkiri, Stung Treng and Mon­dolkiri provinces to prepare for heavy rains in the coming weeks.


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