Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the National Committee for Disaster Management to discuss strategies to combat potential flooding with provincial and district authorities along the Mekong River, the Council of Ministers announced Friday.
Hun Sen also said that the Ministry of Agriculture should visit areas that have been hit by serious flooding in recent weeks, particularly in Banteay Meanchey province where 13,000 hectares of rice paddies have been damaged, the Council of Ministers said in a statement.
Nhim Vanda, vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said that flooding in Banteay Meanchey was caused by heavy rainfall in Thailand that had inundated border areas in Cambodia and that there is little his committee can do except help the victims by providing them with rice.
“It is a natural disaster,” he said, adding that last year around 300 tons of rice was distributed to flood victims throughout the country by the Cambodian Red Cross.
NCDM officials will contact other provincial authorities to discuss flood preparedness.
“We will inform and educate them on what they should do whenever there is a flood,” he said.
River water levels are up this year and forecasted to reach 10.45 meters in Phnom Penh at the confluence of the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac rivers, said Mao Hak, director of the Ministry of Water Resource and Meteorology’s Hydrology Department.
Flood warnings are issued when the Mekong reaches 10.5 meters, Mao Hak said.
“The water level in Phnom Penh is up compared to…9.9 meters last year,” he said, adding that reaching the flood warning level is not bad for everyone as farmers and fishing communities benefit from the higher river levels.
“I expect it will be a good year for farmers and also for the fishermen,” he said.