WATER levels in Banteay Mean-chey province’s Sisophon and Mongkul Borei districts began to recede yesterday, but it would take at least a week for them to return to normal, officials said.
Provincial cabinet director Om Chantha said yesterday that water levels had decreased by roughly 20 centimetres, but that most residents who had been forced to relocate because of severe flooding had not returned to their homes.
“We are happy as the waters have receded because there was no rain in Banteay Meanchey,” he said. “However, we are still worried about their health because they have to stay longer in the flooded areas.”
He said more than 900 families had been forced to seek refuge at roadsides and in local pagodas, and that many were starting to suffer illnesses such as diarrhoea, rashes and colds.
“We don’t expect the waters will recede for at least another week,” he said.
However, he said the relocated families had received relief assistance from the Cambodian Red Cross on Monday, and that more relief packages would be delivered by provincial officials to 300 affected people in O’Chrouv district today.
He added that more than 50,000 people had been affected by floods in the province.
Soum Chankea, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said water had begun to recede at the provincial prison, but that many of the 850 prisoners housed there were still forced to sleep on tabletops to stay dry.
“Some of the prisoners are now starting to get sick because they have lived in the water for too long,” he said.
Keo Vy, director of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said yesterday that a report on the floods, which began on October 10, was now completed and awaiting approval before its release.
“We now are submitting it to our superiors,” he said.
The unofficial death toll from the floods stands at nine: two each in Kampong Chhnang province and in Phnom Penh, and one each in Oddar Meanchey, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk and Kandal provinces.