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Ministry: Mekong waters rising

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A fishing boat on the Chaktomuk River in Phnom Penh on Monday. Heng Chivoan

Ministry: Mekong waters rising

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has issued a warning about Mekong River water levels that are expected to rise over the next few days with a storm that will potentially cause flooding in low-lying areas along the upper Mekong River in Stung Treng, Kratie, Kampong Cham and Tbong Khmum provinces.

A press release issued by the ministry on July 26 said a rise in Mekong River water levels was expected due to the influence of the storm Cempaka, the seventh named storm of the year.

The storm has the potential to bring medium-high levels of rain that may cause flooding in low-lying areas along the upper Mekong River.

However, the ministry stated that the rise in water levels had yet to reach an alarming level at this point.

“So far, the seventh storm, Cempaka, and other influence and various [weather] systems having influence on the Mekong River Basin are bringing medium-high levels of rain in the upper Mekong River region including China, Thailand and Laos, as well as the northeastern highlands of Cambodia,” the press release stated.

The conditions that may cause the water levels to rise will continue over the next few days. The rising waters can flood low-lying areas along the upper Mekong River in Stung Treng, Kratie, Kampong Cham and Tbong Khmum provinces.

“The public, relevant local authorities, especially people living along both sides of the Mekong River and various low-lying areas, please be informed and quickly harvest any crops you have, but do so in a timely manner and pay attention to avoid other dangers that may eventually occur,” the press release stated.

Stung Treng Provincial Administration spokesman Ouk Theavy said on July 26 that the administration will issue a notice telling people along the Mekong River to be careful and be prepared in advance. The notice will also tell authorities to further spread the word to alert them not to neglect the situation because this is the rainy season and the waters can rise at any time, especially when there is a large storm.

He stated that the announcement was not only for the Mekong River waters, but also for all four rivers in his province – the Mekong, Sekong, Sesan and Srepok rivers.

“In general, the water in Stung Treng province normally rises in August or late August. But recently there have been storms and rain almost every day. This has caused the water levels to rise, but not by much,” he said.

Nai Thida, director of the provincial information department, said the administration had already informed the people to be highly vigilant, as it is now rainy season.

“People along the Mekong are well-prepared. But as of today, the waters in the river are not at emergency levels. It’s still much lower than the emergency level,” she said.

Kampong Cham Provincial Hall’s administration chief Khorn Pros said on July 26 that the water was still low now, but it should be expected to rise to some extent because it’s the rainy season.

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