Nearly 12,000 hectares of rice fields in Kampong Thom had been flooded by torrential downpours that had forced officials to temporarily suspend heavy freight in the province and were expected to continue until the end of this month, officials said yesterday.
Preah Vihear and Battambang provinces were also inundated yesterday, with water levels on the Sangkae River reportedly rising to 13.3 met-res, the news website Cambn reported last night.
National Road 5 and the Phnom Penh-to-Poipet railway line in Battambang province were both under water, the Cambn report said.
Mao Lang, director of the Kampong Thom public works and transportation department, said yesterday heavy vehicles had been suspended from travelling on National Road 6 because officials feared it could be seriously damaged if they continued.
“Heavy trucks must stop using the road until the flooding subsides, to avoid severe damage,” Mao Lang said.
Buses would be allowed to continue using the road provided they drove carefully in areas where the surface had been damaged, he said.
Kampong Thom governor Chhun Chhorn said seven districts in Kampong had been affected by floods that had inundated 11,899 hectares of rice fields, 40 kilometres of road, two pagodas and 19 schools.
“About 350 families have also been affected by the floodwaters,” Chhun Chhorn said, adding that so far there was no evidence to suggest that rice crops in the province had been affected by the flooding.
Upstream in Thailand, government spokeswoman Titima Chaisang said about five million people had been affected by flooding across the nation. “The situation right now is that 23 provinces are facing a flood problem. The dams are still okay, but we will have to take good care of some of them,” she said. Cambodian government officials have expressed concerns that Thailand will have to open the floodgates on some of its dams, releasing a surge of water that would flow downstream into Cambodia through the Mekong River and inundate parts of Banteay Meanchey province.
But Titima Chaisang said that although Thai authorities remained concerned about the situation at some dams, there was no immediate plan to release water from them into Cambodia.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DAVID BOYLE