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Post-Ketsana cleanup progresses

091008_04
Debris from Typhoon Ketsana is seen in a village in Kampong Thom, one of the provinces worst-hit by post-storm flooding.

Siem Reap authorities are counting the costs in the aftermath of Typhoon Ketsana, with three additional deaths and much of the province remaining submerged by standing floodwaters.

SIEM Reap provincial authorities are struggling to recover from Typhoon Ketsana, as three more deaths from the storm’s aftermath pushed the national death toll to 24 on Wednesday.

Siem Reap provincial Deputy Governor Bun Tharith said on Wednesday that much of the province remains inundated by post-storm flooding.

He said that two of the new deaths – which brought the provincial toll to six – resulted when a boat overturned and its occupants drowned.

“Floodwaters have not receded yet in some districts, except in the provincial town,” Bun Tharith said, adding that the past few days rain had also left 29 houses in Srey Snom district flooded.

“This is a big disaster for us,” he added.

In addition to the six deaths, provincial authorities have recorded 16 people injured, 63 houses destroyed and 27 houses that were partly
damaged in the storm.

Inclement weather has also destroyed more than 1,000 hectares of rice padddy – many of them in the province’s Pouk district – and 1,085 hectares of other crops.

Bun Tharith said at the end of the week that an inter-ministerial committee will arrive in Siem Reap province to assess the damage to roads and other infrastructure, estimate its costs and plan the recovery.

Local authorities are also scrambling to clear streets in the provincial capital – where waters have largely receded – in order to prompt a return to normality for the area’s bustling tourist industry.

“Siem Reap is a tourist place, so now we are cleaning rubbish and dirt from the roads,” he said.

Heavy damage
A week after Ketsana made landfall in Cambodia, government authorities across the country are calculating the cost of its aftermath.

Keo Vy, a spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management, said the country had lost around US$2 million in revenue from floods in the province.

“It has affected our infrastructure, like bridges and roads,” he said.

Chin Hong Sry, Kratie provincial cabinet deputy chief, said on Wednesday that the situation in the province was better and that waters had received, but that the aftermath of the storm had left the local government with hefty financial losses.

He estimated Kratie province had lost $1.8 million in agricultural output to the flooding, and an additional $550,000 in infrastructure.

In Ratanakkiri province, aid workers report that floods still cover six districts – Andong Meas, Ta Veng, Veun Sai, Kon Mom, Lum Phat and O’Yadav – affecting an estimated 32,320 people, according to figures released by the NGO Welthungerhilfe/German Agro Action, on Wednesday.

“People are in need of assistance. There is not enough food for them all,” said Thun Soriya, a national programme coordinator for GAA. “We are seeing health problems like diarrhoea starting to become a problem.”

Men Neary Sopheak, deputy secretary general of the Cambodian Red Cross, said on Tuesday that the organisation will continue in its efforts to provide aid to 2,000 flood-stricken families in the remote northeastern province.

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