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Flooding threatens lowlands

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Residents paddle through the streets of Russey Keo district on Monday.

Though rains have subsided, Meteorology Department head says runoff from Mondulkiri, Kratie and Stung Treng could flood lowland and coastal provinces.

FLOODWATERS from Mondulkiri, Kratie and Stung Treng provinces could wash out lowland areas along the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers in the coming days, despite diminishing rainfall since deluges earlier this month killed at least nine people, the head of the Kingdom’s Meteorology Department said Monday.

“As we get towards the end of the rainy season, the weather will be normal, and there won’t be any storms,” Seth Vannareth said.

“But the people who live in the lowland and coastal areas should take care of their children and property because we could have floods flowing from the hills.”

Chhun Chhorn, governor of Kampong Thom province, said floodwater from the Tonle Sap river had already destroyed more than 1,000 hectares of rice fields.

He said floodwaters had yet to recede as of Monday afternoon.

Ros Se, the director of information in Kampot province, where two people have drowned this month, said officials were still concerned that weather could threaten people living on the coast.

“We are worried about more flooding because the sky is dark,” he said.

In the capital, residents were concerned about illness, including dengue fever and skin conditions caused by the flooding.

“My family and other families in the flooded zones are facing diseases, and some of them are angry with City Hall,” said Sok Chisen, who lives in Russey Keo district’s Svay Pak commune.

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema said officials were trying to pump water out of the capital, but that it continued to flow in from neighbouring provinces.

Minister of Health Mam Bunheng said children, pregnant women and the elderly should be especially vigilant about avoiding standing water. He also said frequent baths would help stave off illness.

“You can face death if you have no sanitation because the flood will bring many epidemic diseases to you and your family,” he said.

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