PHNOM PENH, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Drought has been hitting 11 out of the 24 cities and provinces in Cambodia and affecting tens of thousands of hectares of rice seedlings, Keo Vy, spokesman and chief of the Cabinet of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said Thursday.
Generally, rainy season begins in May and lasts until October. But this year, there is a lack of rain in some provinces, he told Xinhua over telephone. As a result, to date, the drought has damaged 4,811 hectares of rice seedlings and affected 101,365 hectares of rice seedlings.
The drought-hit provinces are Kampong Speu, Takeo, Svay Rieng, Kandal, Prey Veng, Kampot, Battambang, Pursat, Banteay Meanchey, Uddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear. "If it persists for a longer period, there will be more damage," he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen appealed Wednesday to all levels of authorities to help rescue farmers'rice seedlings through pumping water to irrigate those affected. "Weather is hard to predict. It was predicted that three storms would impact Cambodia in past weeks, but they had diverted to upper part...flooding China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and some areas in Japan,"he told a graduation ceremony at the Build Bright University.
The prime minister added that Cambodia's rainy season this year could prolong until early December.
Cambodia is an agrarian country. More than 80 percent of the population are farmers. The country produced some 8.25 million tons of paddy rice last year, according to a report of the Ministry of Agriculture.