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Ministry pinpoints source of droughts

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
A working team maps out areas in most need of aid. Supplied

The Water Resources Ministry yesterday said a change in weather conditions is the main contributor to a series of droughts occurring throughout some provinces, adding that it is now finding a viable solution.

In a statement yesterday, the ministry said the rainy season came earlier than usual this year, leading to a shortage of water over the past few weeks. In response, the ministry has tasked provincial water departments with aiding farmers.

“All departments must work closely with local authorities to guide farmers so that they do not harvest too many crops too early,” the ministry said. “A lack of water can be catastrophic, and the departments must help to identify water sources for farmers.”

On Saturday, Water Resources Minister Lim Kean Hour decided to designate two water pumping machines to drought-plagued districts in Banteay Meanchey province.

Also on Saturday, water authorities in Preah Sihanouk attempted to salvage rice fields in Sihanoukville.

Heng Sophorn Narith, chief of Sihanoukville’s water department, said a total of 22 water pumps were used to feed water to the dry crops.

Officials inspect water pumps being used to salvage crops. Supplied

“The machines were used to pump water in order to salvage rice fields,” Mr Sophorn Narith said, noting that more than 2,000 hectares of rice in Prey Nop district are vulnerable.

Last week, authorities in Kampong Cham salvaged 10,000 hectares of rice fields in five districts, including Srey Santhor, Prey Chhor, Choeung Prey and Kampong Siem.

Keo Vy, spokesman of the National Committee for Disaster Management, has said that more than 20,000 hectares of rice fields in 13 provinces have been affected by drought, with Kampong Cham, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Kampong Thom hit the hardest.

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday reminded government officials to pay attention to droughts and support farmers.

“Some rice fields lack water, while some areas have enough water,” Mr Hun Sen said. “We are happy to celebrate the Water Festival, but let us not forget about the villagers who are lacking water.”

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