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Drainage upgrades to come amid rains: city

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School children walk home through a flooded street last week in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Drainage upgrades to come amid rains: city

Cambodia will this year experience heavier rainfall than in previous years during an extended rainy season that is expected to last well into December in the coastal and central lowland areas, according to an announcement made by the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology last week.

Phnom Penh City Hall spokesman Met Measpheakdey said the municipality was already putting in place measures to improve the drainage system in anticipation of the heavy rain.

“Right now, we are opening the waterway of the Stung Meanchey canal to release the water from Phnom Penh International Airport and Boeung Trabek areas, and some parts of Sen Sok and Meanchey districts,” he said.

Chhinh Nyda, an environmental studies professor at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said there was a dire need to improve drainage networks, not just in Phnom Penh, but throughout the country.

“In Phnom Penh, there are not enough canals in small streets and difficult areas. Some existing canals are also not able to release water quickly,” he said. “Many developments are in the flood zones because land is so expensive. The areas in flood zones, even if there are canals, you would expect to have flooding.”

“We should expand canals not just in Phnom Penh,” he added, explaining that inadequate drainage systems caused problems everywhere when it rains. “Especially in the north, which is being developed a lot, and the south, where there are lots of residential areas, there are no major canals.”

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