SIEM REAP PROVINCE
FIVE children in Siem Reap province drowned in two separate incidents over the weekend, one of which officials linked to residual flooding from Typhoon Ketsana.
On Saturday, three siblings drowned after the youngest, a 4-year-old boy identified as Chim Pech, fell into a roadside canal. The boy’s older brother, 14-year-old Chim Met, and older sister, 10-year-old Chim Roeu, both dove in after Chim Pech in an attempt to save him, but all three ended up drowning, said Hang Hoeuy, chief of Svan Dangkum commune in Siem Reap district.
We were shocked and terrified after hearing this news.
“There was too much water in the canal, which was the result of all the flooding, and the water level has been slow in going down,” he said, adding that the children had likely been trying to fish in the canal.
The previous day, two schoolgirls drowned after falling into a pond in Sla Kram commune. Witnesses said the girls – 13-year-old Deng Nita and 12-year-old Pov Sokhim – had been wearing their school uniforms at the time of the incident, though commune chief Khieu Sath said it was unclear whether they were coming from or going to school.
He said witnesses reported that the girls fell in after trying to retrieve something from the pond, which was two metres deep.
Kem Sour, director of New Hope Cambodia, a Siem Reap-based charity, said the girls had belonged to poor families, and that the charity had previously given them assistance in the form of food, clothing and bicycles.
“We were shocked” upon hearing news of the girls’ drowning, he said.