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Diarrhoea breaks out as the floodwaters rise

Floodwater continue to rise across the Kingdom and evacuees from the most devastated areas face new health risks and food shortages, officials said, as aid organisations rush to deliver assistance to families in need.

Seng Sophal, deputy director of the Sambor health centre in Kampong Thom province’s Prasat Sambor district, said yesterday that just over one-third of families from the district that had been evacuated from their homes were experiencing diarrhoea and colds.  

He said the reason for the high rate of illness was due to the unsanitary conditions where the evacuees were being forced to live.

“The evacuees have cleared out forest land to live where the environment is not so good and some of them are facing a shortage of food,” he said.

Figures supplied by Red Cross, Caritas and World Vision show that slightly more than 3,000 of the 4,000 families requiring assistance in Kampong Thom are set to receive some type of aid, in the form of food, water, shelter or medicine in the coming days.

Director of the Red Cross in Kampong Thom said that since September 9, 12 people had drowned in the province due to rising floodwaters.

Pheang Pang, deputy governor of the Prasat Sambo district, said the latest victim of the floods was a 60-year-old man from the Chhouk commune, who drowned while he was fishing, even though he was thought to know how to swim.

He said at least 40 villagers along the Stung Sen River had been flooded and more than 7,000 hectares of rice paddies were damaged.

“Homes [along the Stung Sen] are flooded by up to one metre. Some rice crops have been inundated for 10 days,” said Pheang Pang.

The deputy governor also said that, to his knowledge, evacuees from the floods were spread out in 23 separate locations making it difficult to keep up to date on their conditions.

A total of 15 people have reportedly died across Cambodia since the latest floods broke out on September 9. That followed floods in August that left 9 people dead in the Kingdom.

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