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Almost all provinces in Cambodia facing drought: meteorology official

PHNOM PENH, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Almost every province in Cambodia is facing some level of drought, but only a few provinces were facing a severe shortage of water, local newspaper reported Wednesday, citing a meteorology official.

"As far as I know, the provinces of Kampong Cham, Banteay Meanchey, Oddor Meanchey and Kampong Thom and some others are having a water shortage, as the water in their wells and ponds is starting to evaporate so much that they cannot use it anymore," the Khmer Times quoted Oum Ryna, director of the Meteorology Department at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, as saying.

He said the ministry has instructed all citizens to conserve water and reduce usage to the minimum amount needed per day during the dry season.

"The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology announced to all people to save water until the rainy season comes and we also called for them to pay attention to their health by drinking enough water in the hot season," he said.

The most remote provinces are facing serious water shortages, he said, adding that many residents living far from water sources are suffering.

"It is not yet the right time to warn about water shortages and the ministry is trying its best to make reservoirs and dig up ponds or canals for people we know do not have a water source," Ryna said.

He added that Cambodia is not the only country facing a water shortage. Many of the Mekong countries, including Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and parts of China, are facing similar situations.

A Cambodian senior official on Tuesday hailed China for releasing water to drought-hit Mekong countries from March 15 to April 10.

"Recently, due to drought, China has released water to the Mekong countries. This gesture has received deep admiration from the leaders of the Mekong countries," Sry Thamarong, minister attached to Prime Minister Hun Sen, told reporters.

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