High seas alert on coasts, stormy week ahead

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Koh Kong provincial authorities prepare to evacuate people and animals to a safe place in Koh Kong district’s Trapaing Roung commune on Tuesday. FACEBOOK

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology on October 12 issued a warning that rainstorms and dangerous sea conditions will continue in coastal areas and the central lowlands, which could present risks for people, especially for fishermen.

The warning came after weather officials said that the season’s 18th Typhoon Kompasu in the South China Sea would produce a depression and the southwest monsoon was intensifying as a high pressure system and winds from China were moving down to affect northern Cambodia.

According to the forecast, from October 13-19 the capital and seven provinces in the country’s central and southern areas bordering Vietnam, including the provinces next to the Cardamom Mountains, will receive heavy rainfall and high winds which can pose a risk to people.

Um Rina, director of the ministry’s meteorology department, told The Post that from October 13-15, coastal provinces will receive heavy rainfall, strong winds and heavy seas. Everybody must take extra precautions during these weather conditions.

“In this situation, people, especially fishermen, must be more careful about these natural disasters,” he said.

At the same time, coastal provincial authorities have continued to inform locals by preparing measures to deal with any disaster that could be caused by the weather.

Preah Sihanouk provincial water resources department director Heng Sophornrith told The Post that the provincial administration had temporarily prohibited waterway traffic because it was now raining and there were big waves.

“At this time, there are no strong winds at sea, but the sky is cloudy due to several days of rains and there are big waves. In this situation, the provincial administration requested fishermen and tour boat operators to temporarily suspend operations to avoid accidents,” he said.

Sophornrith added that specialists are now monitoring water levels on the Samrong River in Kampong Seila district as levels have risen significantly. As of the afternoon of October 12, water levels were 4.75m, and an emergency is declared when levels reach 6m.

He continued that if the weather forecast for the next three days continues, it will make the river to rise further or cause floods in certain areas near the river, especially at O’Bak Rotes village.

Similarly, Kampot provincial Fisheries Administration chief Sar Sorin told The Post that fishermen had suspended fishing two days ago due to heavy rains. However, some fishermen continued to fish in areas around small islands to support their families.

“With modern technology, they can get up-to-date information about the weather and they know exactly where they can fish,” he said. “But we also need to remind them to be extra careful to avoid potential danger.”

Mak Brang commune chief Seng Chhay said that on the afternoon of October 11, Kampot provincial authorities decided to open sluice gates at Kamchay hydropower dam to release water from the reservoir. Water from the dam has flooded parts of Teuk Chhou district’s Mak Brang commune, downstream of the Teuk Chhou area. But the water did not affect any farmers’ homes or crops.

“The lower part of the Teuk Chhou creek in Mak Brang commune was flooded, but did not affect people’s homes and crops,” he said.

However, authorities were continuing to monitor the situation in the creek and were ready to assist people in case of floods.

Seng Chhay added that technical officials from the Kampot provincial Department of Mines and Energy were cooperating with technical teams from the Kamchay dam company to gradually release water from the reservoir to avoid flooding.