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Damaged, displacement but no deaths from floods

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Banteay Meanchey provincial Department of Public Works and Transport suspends heavy vehicle traffic on Street 268A in Phnom Srok district on Sunday. FB

Damaged, displacement but no deaths from floods

Since the beginning of this month, heavy rains have damaged many buildings, basic infrastructure and agricultural crops in the provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Pailin, Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Pursat and Kampong Chhnang, according to the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).

NCDM spokesman Khun Sokha said Banteay Meanchey has been the worst affected of the provinces

“As of September 27, floods in Banteay Meanchey had affected 6,686 families in six districts and towns – Sisophon, Poipet, Phnom Srok, Mongkol Borei, Malai and O’Chrou. A total of 736 families had to be evacuated for their safety,” Sokha said.

Sok Chantha, director of the provincial Department of Public Works and Transport, told The Post on September 27 that authorities have banned heavy trucks from travelling on a stretch of Street 268A by Trapeang Thmar Reservoir in Phnom Srok district to protect it from further deterioration after it was weakened by flooding.

“To protect the street from damage and to ensure the public’s safety, we have decided to temporarily suspend travel for all kinds of heavy vehicles there until further notice. Regular cars may still use the road,” he said.

NCDM spokesman Sokha said that in addition to the impact on people’s homes, the floods in Banteay Meanchey had affected more than 12,038ha of rice, 2,255ha of cassava and 114ha of cash crops, as well as submerging over 86.6km of roads in the province.

Battambang, Pailin, Kampong Chhnang and Preah Vihear provinces experienced some flooding but were less severely affected.

He said NCDM first vice-president Kun Kim is leading a team to rescue people from the flood-affected areas and provide them with resources and supplies as part of the emergency response efforts.

Sisophon town police chief Sy Dy said due to rain and water flowing down from the highlands through various streams, the water levels of the Sisophon River rose suddenly and flooded hundreds of houses along the river banks.

The occupants of those homes are now staying in tents set up by the authorities in Preah Ponlea village and commune for now.

“A total of 305 families have been evacuated to safety. Some roads in the town were also flooded and damaged,” he said.

Poipet town hall spokesman Keo Dara Raksmey told The Post that water levels at the Cambodian-Thai border no longer appeared to be rising because the rain had stopped. However, 180 families have been evacuated for safety reasons from five locations – three in Poipet commune and one each in Phsar Kandal and Nimith communes.

In Mongkol Borei district, authorities said about 30 families were evacuated while the rain continued to fall moderately.

District governor Roth Da Sinong told The Post that the Mongkol Borei River had flooded local roads and villages in four communes: Bot Trang, Pahal, Soeu and Rahat Teuk.

In Preah Vihear province, the water level of the Stung Sen River jumped 30cm on the morning of September 26, surpassing the emergency level and flooding some people’s homes in the lowlands.

The flooding did not pose as serious of a risk to people as it did in 2020, according to Chap Koy, director of the provincial Department of Water Resources and Meteorology.

Koy told The Post that heavy rains on the night of September 25 caused the water levels of the Stung Sen River to rise to 11.80m by the following morning, above the emergency level of 11.50m.

“Currently, the Stung Sen River continues to flood due to heavy rains in the Dangrek mountain range and the northeastern plateau,” he said.

According to Koy, people have not had to be evacuated to safety so far, but the authorities are preparing shelters and have the means to evacuate them should the waters continue to rise.

Due to heavy rainfall in the catchment area of the Mekong River basin, especially in Thailand and Laos, the water levels of the Mekong River in Cambodia have risen significantly, according to the water resources ministry’s forecast seen by The Post on September 26.

According to the forecast, the water levels at the Mekong-Stung Treng hydrological station and the Kratie, Kampong Cham and the Mekong-Neak Loeung hydrological stations will continue to rise until September 28.

Heng Rath Monida, director of the Kratie provincial water resources department, said the Mekong River’s floodwaters had flowed into canals, rivers and water systems like lakes and reservoirs which were only about 40 per cent full at this time.

“For Kratie province, the Mekong River’s water level is up to 20m, which is good because the water can flow into our rivers, lakes, creeks and reservoirs and fill them 100 per cent full, which can help farmers irrigate dry season rice,” he said.

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