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Anxious Kandal villagers trained in flood mitigation

Concerns about potential flooding during the coming rainy season have spurred two

riverside districts in Kandal province to initiate flood prevention training programs.

Cheng Nhan, Kandal provincial cabinet chief, said under a Mekong River Commission

program, the Lvea Eam and Leuk Daek districts have begun instructing villagers on

flood prevention tactics and, in the case of a flood, how to mitigate damage and

loss of livelihood.

Nhan said the two districts had been chosen because many of their villages were built

on the banks of the Mekong River, and have had disastrous flooding in the past.

Chhun Menglong, director of the Kandal Water Resources Department, said because Kandal

is low-lying, all districts in the province flood each year. The worse the flooding,

the greater the damage.

According to Nhan, in 2000 and 2001, Kandal had disastrous floods that destroyed

homes, many hectares of rice fields, and a stretch of Route 1.

"Just this year, the Mekong River Commission asked us to teach people how to

prevent floods," he said.

Mao Hak, director at the Department of Water Resources and Meteorology of the Ministry

of Water Resources, said that under the MRC program, his ministry, the Asian Disaster

Preparedness Center (ADPC) and the German Technical Cooperation organization GTZ

last year gave flood prevention education to people in 40 villages in Stung Treng,

Kratie, Kampong Cham and Prey Veng provinces. This year, the education program will

continue in Kandal, Takeo and other areas of Prey Veng.

Hak said this year the water level would be higher than 2005. He forecast that the

water level will reach 10.2 meters at the Chaktomuk river confluence. In 2005 it

reached 9.95m.

Hak said, however, that even though the water level will be higher this year, it

will not reach the 11.2m seen in 2000.

"It will flood areas around the Tonle Sap as it does every year, but it will

not cause any disaster," Hak said.

Nhan said he could not predict whether there would be flood disasters this year,

because since the damage of 2000 and 2001 his province had not had any serious problems.

Nou Nan, Koh Reas commune chief in Lvea Eam district, said he was much more confident

about dealing with flooding after participating in a three-day-workshop held in his

district from June 21. But villagers remain worried.

Chhouk San, 57, Veal Thom villager in Lvea Eam district, said he was very concerned

that Cambodia would endure serious floods this year after televised news broadcasts

about flood problems in other countries.

Tim Sam Ourn, 52, who lives in Koh Reas village, Lvea Eam district, said her house

floods every year. Even with the positive forecasts of low water levels, she is concerned

that this year her home will be destroyed.

"I am afraid that my house will fall down because all my house's poles are already

decayed," Sam Ourn said.

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