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Floods take toll on Phnom Penh

The government has issued flash-flood warnings as heavy rain and strong winds sank boats, felled trees, destroyed homes and flooded all eight districts in the capital.

A statement signed by Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology Lim Kean Hor said that low atmospheric pressure would see flooding continue through Wednesday in all lowland areas – including Phnom Penh – as well as in the provinces of Kampong Speu, Prey Veng and Svay Rieng.
“According to the above situation, the ministry would like to appeal to local authorities and people in the provinces and seawater fishermen to pay attention and be very careful in order to avoid any danger that would occur incidentally,” the statement read.
Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said yesterday that more than 3,000 civilian and military police officers would be deployed to assist those affected by floods.
“Now, the floods have hit everywhere – in all districts in the city. We are very concerned about our people’s security, safety and their health,” he said.
“To help keep our people from danger, we are now preparing our police forces and other rescue material to help our people from flooding.”
Officials said the body of a 4-year-old boy was found yesterday afternoon in Meanchey district’s Boeung Tumpun lake, and that the boy had apparently drowned after falling into Boeung Salang lake in Tuol Kork district.
However, Meanchey district governor Kouch Chamroeun said it was unclear whether rough weather was a direct factor in the boy’s death. “We found the body of the boy on Monday afternoon at 1pm, and we have contacted the family,” he said.
Officials in Preah Sihanouk province said that three men remained missing after violent rain and wild wind sank four boats off the coast of Sihanoukville.
Provincial police chief Tak Vantha said the boats had capsized on Sunday, but that six men had been saved. “We don’t know the fate of the missing men, but police and other people are looking for them,” he said.
Deputy provincial police chief Yin Bun Nath said a Vietnamese fishing boat with 30 people aboard had also been sunk by the storm just outside Cambodian waters, and that two people were still missing.
Tak Vantha said rain and wind had destroyed at least eight houses in Sihanoukville while downing trees and electricity poles.
Him Sarun, cabinet chief at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, said Phnom Penh International Airport would need to close because of the weather, but flights were taking off and landing on schedule last night. SSCA Information Officer Van Tan said minor delays had resulted when planes were forced to briefly circle the airport before landing. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY THET SAMBATH

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