Preah Vihear, Stung Treng rivers nearing emergency levels

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Heavy rains over the past several days have flooded and damaged some national and rural road systems in Preah Vihear province. FACEBOOK

Heavy rains over the past several days have flooded and damaged some national and rural road systems in Preah Vihear province while swelling the waters of the Stung Sen River to near-emergency levels.

Preah Vihear provincial Department of Public Works and Transport director Sam Leangtry told The Post on September 14 that heavy rains in the past four to five days had flooded stretches of national roads 95, 94 and 92, as well as other smaller roads in the province.

"Some places are flooded, making it difficult for people to travel, but the situation from the rain-induced flooding is not serious yet," he said.

He added that the damaged stretches of the roads were being immediately repaired by adding soil and stones. In some locations, roads were excavated and cut off and drains were installed to divert waterways into streams and canals to reduce flooding and damage.

Preah Vihear provincial Department of Water Resources director Chab Koy told The Post that the water level of the Stung Sen River had risen to 10.80m, which is very close to the emergency declaration level of 11m. He said people living in low-lying areas nearby need to be very careful and monitor the situation closely because the river is close to flooding and moderate rains continue to fall.

"If it continues to rain heavily over the next few days, the water level in Stung Sen River will rise to the emergency declaration level because we’re just 2cm short of it already,” he said.

He said some areas of Choam Ksan, Chey Sen and Chheb districts had gradually been flooded, but authorities throughout the province have prepared resources and equipment to help people in the affected areas.

Choam Ksan district governor Chea Kim Seng told The Post that due to the floods, there were some farmers who had decided to sell their cassava crops before the regular harvest season to avoid risking a total loss.

"The rice crop is now growing well, but the cassava crop cannot withstand the floods for a long time, as their roots are prone to rot. If they didn’t sell before the harvest season, then the losses would be greater," he said.

In Stung Treng province, the water levels of the Mekong, Sesan and Sekong rivers have also risen significantly after tropical storm Conson dumped heavy rain across the region for several days.

Stung Treng water resources department director Pang Peng told The Post that the water level of the Mekong River on the morning of September 14 was at 7.63m, an increase of 0.89m compared to September 13. The emergency declaration level is 10.70m.

Similarly, the water level of the Sesan River on September 14 was 6.78m, an increase of 0.87m compared to September 13. The emergency declaration level is 10.50m.

As for the Sekong River, the water level was at 9.52m as of the morning of September 14, up 3.62m from September 13. The emergency declaration level is 11.50m.

"We have observed that the water levels of the three rivers in Stung Treng province are rising steadily and alarmingly, although none have yet reached the emergency declaration level. Therefore, people living along the three rivers have to stay alert,” he said.

According to the water resources ministry’s weather forecast on September 14, Cambodia will be affected by the ITCZ low pressure system that is moving through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

From September 17-21, Cambodia will also be affected by a low pressure system out of India and by the weak southwest monsoon, with all of that adding up to ongoing rainfall but in low to moderate amounts.