The damage inflicted by recent floods could end up costing nearly half as much as Typhoon Ketsana last year, officials have said, as the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology warned that heavy rainfall could last “until mid-November” because of low atmospheric pressure.
Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop concerning a draft law on disaster management, Nhim Vanda, vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said an official report on flood damage had not been completed, but that “preliminary estimations” indicated that “rains and floods may cost almost half of the costs of last year’s Typhoon Ketsana disaster in Cambodia”.
Ketsana, which hit Cambodia for seven days beginning on September 29 last year, left 43 people dead and 67 seriously injured and affected roughly 49,000 families, according to figures cited by Nhim Vanda.
He said the NCDM had also determined that Ketsana caused US$132 million in damages.
Ung Rina, deputy director of the Water Resources and Meteorology Department at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said that recent heavy rainfall could continue as low atmospheric pressure persisted.
“To avoid the danger of flooding, I would like to appeal to all people to be careful of the floods, which could continue until mid-November,” he said.
Keo Vy, director of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said on Sunday that four people had died from drowning since the floods began: one each in Siem Reap, Kampong Chhnang and Preah Sihanouk provinces, and one in Phnom Penh.
Nhim Vanda said the areas most affected by the flooding in the past few days included Dangkor district in Phnom Penh and Pursat and Banteay Meanchey provinces.
Hem Darith, deputy governor of Dangkor, said more than 1,021 families from six communes had been evacuated on Sunday because of the overflowing Preak Thnoat river, but that they had been able to return to their homes.
On Sunday, Banteay Meanchey officials said flooding had crippled the town of Poipet, where roads had been closed and residents were prevented from going to work. But Poipet governor Try Narin said that the town was slowly returning to normal after water began receding.
In Pursat, deputy governor Khov Sokha said 3,596 families lacked food and supplies in the provinces. He also said that roughly 6,242 hectares of rice crops had been completely destroyed, and that 10 bridges and more than 43 kilometres of road had been damaged. He said local officials had spent a total of $29,454 on 400,000 sandbags and 2,500 litres of petrol used by water-pumping machines.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hun Sen, speaking at a graduation ceremony at the National Institute of Education, praised the response by authorities to the floods.
“I would like to appeal to all authorities to continue their hard work,” Hun Sen said.