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Public Warned to Be on Alert after Mekong River Rise

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The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Meteorology and Hydrology Department has warned people who live along the banks of the Mekong River from the north to the south to be on alert due to rising river levels.The warning came out yesterday after the Mekong’s water levels increased rapidly and some people’s rice fields and crops were flooded yesterday but the situation is still not serious.

The department’s Deputy Head of the Hydrological Division, Mr. Somphanh Vithaya told Vientiane Times yesterday that water levels are rising because of heavy rains in northern Laos, which could cause flooding in low-lying areas of some districts in Vientiane and other parts of the country.

Mr. Somphanh said the division was monitoring weather conditions constantly, and was working in collaboration with the meteorology and hydrology departments of other countries.

“When the Mekong levels increase above 11 metres in lowland areas of Vientiane, or other extreme weather conditions are forecast, we immediately send out warnings through various meteorology and hydrology sectors, as well as via Facebook, websites, radio broadcasts, television and media agencies, to let people know what is happening,” he explained.

Mr. Somphanh said the rain around the capital Vientiane had not been so heavy and that the Mekong was about 9.42 metres deep close to the bank yesterday. However there have been heavy rains in Oudomxay, LaungPrabang, XiengKhuang, Xayaboury and Huaphan provinces.

The Mekong yesterday was about 13.8 metres deep close to the bank in LuangPrabang province; 11 metres in PakxanBorikhamxay province; 7.28 metres in Pakxe, Champassak province; 10.12 metres in Thakhek, Khammuan province; and 8.33 metres in Savannakhet province.

In good news, the water level of the Mekong River in LuangPrabang province had decreased yesterday after flooding in many areas while the authorities are gearing up for recovery efforts.

Today, the Mekong is about 10.60 metres deep close to the bank at Km 4 in Vientiane, while it is about 12 metres in LuangPrabang, 9 metres in Savannakhet, 8 metres in Pakxe, 12 metres in Pakxan, and 11 metres in Thakhek.

Current conditions are normal for this time of year, and there have also been storm warnings for weather systems coming from the southwest, which will extend over central parts of the country bringing more rain. Mr. Somphanh said there will be relatively little rain over the next two days however people who live in low-lying areas along the Mekong River in Vientiane and the provinces of Phongsaly, Huaphan, XiengKhuang, LuangNamtha, Oudomxay, Bokeo, LuangPrabang, Xayaboury, Xaysomboun, Vientiane, Borikhamxay and Khammuan should still be on alert for heavy rain, flash flooding, landslides and other hazards.

Moreover members of the public who are out and about should follow and check the weather forecast information provided by the department.

Closely following the weather forecasts is the responsibility of all people, especially those who living along the banks of the Mekong River, Mr. Somphanh warned.

Source: Vientiane Times