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Battambang bridge collapses

A BRIDGE in Battambang province collapsed under the weight of excessive flooding this week, officials said yesterday, as the National Committee for Disaster Management reported that flood waters had receded to normal levels in every province.

Keo Vy, director of the NCDM, said the bridge collapsed on Tuesday and was reported to NCDM officials as part of initial reports coming in from provincial authorities.

“I think that this bridge, in Bavel district, is the last one to have collapsed,” he said.

He said that reports on damage estimates had been received from eight provinces, and that the number of confirmed deaths due to drowning in flooded areas was still five: one each in Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Chhnang and Oddar Meanchey provinces, and one in Phnom Penh.

The five deaths confirmed by the NCDM bring the unofficial death toll to eight, with deaths also reported in Kandal province and Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, as well as a second death in Kampong Chhnang.

Keo Vy said more than 20,000 hectares of rice fields had been reported destroyed or damaged, and that 98 houses collapsed and more than 45 kilometres of road had been damaged since October 10.

“So far we have not completed our primary report yet, because we have received just eight reports from affected provinces,” he said, and added that an NCDM report on the floods would be ready on Friday after the remaining provinces were accounted for.

Hem Darith, deputy governor of Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, said roughly 95 percent of the 1,021 families who moved from their houses during the floods had returned, as water levels began to recede.

“I think if there is no more rain, all the people will return to their homes [today],” he said.

Villager Mey Srey Pao, 45, said her family moved to the side of a road located roughly 100 metres from their flooded house for two days.

“I think that I am lucky that I was able to move my children to stay at higher roads during the flooding, and I didn’t lose any property,” she said. ? returned to my house on Monday.”

Uy Sam Ath, director of disaster management at the Cambodian Red Cross, said a total of US$9,700 had been provided by the CRC for the purchase of relief assistance, along with 12 tonnes of rice and other food that had gone to Pursat and Banteay Meanchey provinces.

“All 24 [CRC] branches have at least 200 to 500 sets of emergency items in stock, and sometimes as many as 1,000,” he said. “If the impact is over their capacity, they will ask for intervention from CRC headquarters.”

Ung Rina, deputy director of the Department of Water Resources and Meteorology at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said yesterday that rain would continue to “slightly” fall until the middle of November.

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