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Cambodian PM thanks China for discharging water into drought-hit Mekong River countries

PREAH VIHEAR, Cambodia, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday expressed profound gratitude to China for discharging water from a hydropower station to the drought-hit countries along the Mekong River.

"I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to the government of the People's Republic of China for discharging water from the Lancang River into the Mekong River for the third time," he said during the inauguration ceremony of a Chinese-invested sugar mill here.

"The water release has helped downstream Mekong River countries - Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam - to alleviate the impacts of drought," he said with a call on upstream countries (Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand) not to use much water so as to let it flow into Cambodia and Vietnam.

The prime minister said the weather was extremely bad this year, as temperatures were up to 42 degrees Celsius in some provinces.

"However, heat waves have not cost any human life in Cambodia yet," he said.

Chan Yutha, spokesman for the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said on Monday that some 60 million people living along the downstream Mekong River are benefiting from China's ongoing discharge of water.

Mekong River originates in China and runs through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is known as Lancang River in the Chinese stretch.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said last week that China decided to continue discharging water starting April 11 and last until the end of low water period.

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