The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology yesterday issued a warning that an impending tropical storm may inundate the Tonle Sap and Mekong River, causing floods to neighbouring communities.
Water Resources Minister Lim Kean Hor urged local authorities and citizens living near the waterways to be vigilant as the storm approaches because water levels are likely to rise.
Mr Kean Hor added that the storm is currently in the South China Sea and is expected to move into Thailand and Laos today.
The storm, known as Tropical Storm Talas, is expected to bring heavy downpours of rain in Thailand and Laos from Monday to Friday, Mr Kean Hor said, noting that it is expected to cross into Cambodia on July 25.
“In the next four to five days, the water in Tonle Sap and Mekong river will jump up,” he said. “However, even though it will be increasing, it will not be catastrophic, but will likely affect some lowland areas located around the upper Mekong in Stung Treng, Kratie and Kampong Cham provinces.”
“Please, local authorities and citizens who are living along the waterways, pay attention to the water levels as they can jump up at any time,” he added, noting that farmers should quickly harvest any crops they do not want affected by possible floods.
Mr Kean Hor also issued a plea for fishermen and boat passengers to be aware of the coming storm.
National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman Keo Vy said regardless of the minister’s warning, his department was continuously preparing for natural disasters, including the stocking of food rations and public broadcasts of weather systems, especially during the rainy season.
“We normally start such preparation in June for the provinces along the rivers,” he said.
“We often prepare and tell the citizens to be careful about floods, but you must know, our citizens are well aware of these issues, they live along the river and are very familiar with how to survive.”
Mr Vy said that the local authorities in Stung Treng, Kratie and Kampong Cham provinces have already warned their residents and prepared for the storm.
“The Ministry of Health also told the health centres to be prepared and find safe places to treat patients and offer medicine if the centres are hit by floods,” he added.