The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) has called on the residents of Kratie, Stung Treng and Kampong Thom provinces to be on high alert as the threat of imminent flooding rises.

NCDM spokesman Soth Kim Kolmony highlighted the need for people to exercise caution, particularly those in flood-prone areas, warning on September 18 that flash floods are almost inevitable if rain continues.

“Water levels have not yet reached emergency levels, but water continues to swell the rivers and waterways in the lower parts of these three provinces,” he said, adding that local authorities have also issued warnings and prepared themselves to conduct rescue operations if need be.

He said the NCDM is standing by to intervene, noting that – in cooperation with the armed forces – more than 2,000 personnel are available. He added that local authorities and other branches are also prepared to assist.

As of September 17, the water level of the Stung Sen River at Kampong Thom station stood at 13.41m. With the danger level pegged at 13.5m, evacuations may be necessary should the region experience heavy rainfall in the next few days, said a senior provincial official.

Deputy governor Sok Hay said although water levels have yet to reach the warning mark, provincial authorities are standing by to affect any rescues when necessary.

The provincial administration first released a notice on September 15 warning all people living along the river to exercise caution and prepare for possible flooding.

It said residents should not allow their children to play in the water, while also suggesting that they prepare their essential documents and identify potential safe places should they need to evacuate. Any instances of flooding should be reported immediately.

The administration also instructed local authorities to prepare intervention plans and possible evacuation points. They were ordered to warn the public of the infectious disease risks associated with flooding, and educate them about the measures they can employ to reduce their risk.

“We ask that all members of the public cooperate with the authorities of villages, communes, towns and districts so they can respond in a timely and efficient manner,” added the notice.

Regarding the water level of Stung Sen in Kampong Thom province, Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology secretary of state Chan Yutha and officials from the provincial water resources department inspected the scene on September 16 and determined that the river was gradually rising.

Yutha met with provincial governor Nguon Rattanak and recommended that warnings be issued.

Minister Thor Chetha previously warned that the effects of the El Nino phenomenon would be felt strongly from September to December. He predicted heavy rainfall in several parts of the Kingdom.