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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Disaster management officials prepare for floods

Disaster management officials prepare for floods

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Motorists drive through floodwater behind the Royal Palace in downtown Phnom Penh on Tuesday. Photograph: Meng Kimlong/Phnom Penh Post

The National Committee for Disaster Management was preparing to ensure end-of-season floods did not compound the woes caused by months of drought, officials said yesterday.

To minimise the effects of flooding, the NCDM had sent a request to the Council of Ministers for 16,000 tonnes of food and almost 9,000 soldiers, sailors and military police, along with other supplies including boats, NDCM representatives announced yesterday morning at a meeting of nearly 100 government officials and UN representatives.

NCDM officials said they had requested more food and soldiers than in past years, but were unable to provide exact numbers.

Although this year’s drought has affected more than 10,000 hectares of rice across 14 provinces, according to a report released at the meeting, government ministries now needed to turn their attention from drought to flooding, Nhim Vanda, first vice-president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said.

The drought was now under control, Vanda said, thanks to resuscitation projects and increased rain, but he warned: “Climate change seems to have made disasters worse. Floods are one month ahead, so we need to be prepared.”

The government was in the process of drafting a disaster management plan, he said.

Moa Hak, director of the Water Ministry’s Hydrology and River Worker Department, said his ministry was forecasting significant flooding this year due to heavy rain and rising water levels in the Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap rivers.

According to the NCDM, storms so far this year have damaged 953 houses, killed 20 people and injured 59.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sen David at david.sen@phnompenhpost.com

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