Police Prepare for Expected Mekong Flooding

Water levels in the Mekong River have risen as much as 50 cm in some places during the past 24 hours as police and villagers in the area are preparing for an expected flood, police said Monday.

In Stung Treng province the water level has increased by 50 centimeters to 9.55 meters since Sun­day afternoon, but according to Long Vichet, provincial police chief, the river will not reach flooding levels until it passes 10.5 meters.

“The rain falls almost all the time, sometimes strong and sometimes weak. We are preparing boats, safety barriers and have alerted local officials from top to bottom to be careful,” he said, adding that both police and officials are well prepared in case the flood gets serious.

The Mekong River is expected to flood as a result of a cyclone over northern Vietnam and heavy rain in Cambodia’s coastal areas and the Ministry of Water Resources re­leased a statement Sunday to alert provincial and district officials.

Northern Vietnam is still suffering from heavy rain and as the water makes its way to the Me­kong River and down to the coast the provinces near the river will experience rising water levels, said Seth Vannareth, a meteorologist at Ministry of Water Resource’s Meteorology Department. The cyclone expected to hit Cambodia has dissipated, but the country is still experiencing light rain in the provinces around the Mekong River and heavy rain in the coastal areas and Kandal province, she added.

“During the low pressure in Vietnam giving much water to the Mekong River, the level will rise in the next few days…. But in the next couple of days there will not be very much rain,” she said.

In Kratie and Kompong Cham provinces, police officers in every district have been divided into groups and will patrol the area and warn people if the flood rea­ches dangerous levels, officials said.

“The police officers patrol to provide information at all times and the officers work shifts both day and night,” said Kompong Cham pro­vincial police chief Nuon Samin.

Between Sunday and Monday the water level in Kompong Cham had increased by 30 cm to 13.34 meters but will not reach flood level until it tops 15 meters, according to the provincial water resources department.

Police and provincial officials in Kratie province met Monday to dis­cuss preparations for the ex­pected flood, and police are now building safety barriers and pre­paring boats that will help them rescue villagers and their belongings, said deputy provincial police chief Kao Srei Sei.

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