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Siem Reap seems flood-proofed – but no so for outlying districts

A villager throws a fishing net into flooded rice fields at Angkor Chum
A villager throws a fishing net into flooded rice fields at Angkor Chum.​​ YOU VONG

Siem Reap seems flood-proofed – but no so for outlying districts

Siem Reap town has been flood free so far this year, but outlying areas have been inundated including Pouk, Angkor Chum, Krolanh, and Varin.

Department of Water Resources and Meteorology director Noun Krisna said there has been no flooding in Siem Reap town because the Provincial Authority and the Apsara Authority made improvements to the water system to avoid flooding in the town and especially at the temples.

He said, “Although rain has been steadily falling, the water is flowing fast enough from the Siem Reap River to Tonle Sap Lake which helps the river from overflowing in the city. Our river is now also bigger than before.

He added that a dam at the Ta Soum temple in the Angkor Thom district has become the priority strategy of the Apsara Authority to avoid flooding in Angkor Park and Siem Reap City. The dam strategy was planned and implemented by the Provincial Authority and Apsara in 2012 after Siem Reap town, Angkor Thom, and Banteay Srei district experienced heavy flooding in November 2011 which left about 200 tourists stranded.

Noun Krisna said, “The water normally flows from Kulen Mountain to the Siem Reap River through Banteay Srei district, but recently the authority diverted part of that water to Rolous River, another part to Pouk River, and the remainder of the water will flow into the West Baray and North Baray.”

This method seems to be working effectively to avoid flooding in the temples as well Siem Reap town, but a Kok Chok resident, Seng Sech, who lives near the Bayon Temple in Nokor Krout’s village claims that his and other villager’s houses had been inundated because of the Apsara’s Authority’s dam strategy.

He said, “I am happy to see there is no flooding in Siem Reap town, but I am unhappy that the water flooded my village. The water level rose up to my waist and flooded my house and my farm and other roads.”

He noted that some people had been relocated from their houses to safe places adding, “Most of the villagers left their homes and went to sleep at the school nearby.”

He said that with the flooding, authorities visited villages to provide help. Mi Rith, Nokor Krout’s village chief, told Insider that more than 300 families had been affected by short-term flooding.

He said 359 families from the 600 families in the village had left their home due to the water level rising about half a metre, but now they are back in their homes because the water level has decreased.

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