Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Flood problems continue

Flood problems continue

A motorist attempts to drive on a flooded street yesterday in Phnom Penh.
A motorist attempts to drive on a flooded street yesterday in Phnom Penh.

Flood problems continue

With rain pouring down for hours yesterday thanks to a low-pressure system, many Cambodians found their daily lives disrupted by severe flooding, with some taking to social media to criticise a poor flood management system in Phnom Penh.

Ol Van, a Phnom Penh resident, blamed the heavy flooding on the city’s controversial decision to allow the filling in and development of numerous lakes – like the now-notorious Boeung Kak – which had functioned as natural drainage systems.

“As far as I remember, 10 years ago, when I first came to Phnom Penh, the rain flooding didn’t happen as quickly, because back then more lakes had not yet been filled and the water could flow into those lakes,” he said.

On the streets, 19-year-old Chhun Thanu Socheata’s motorbike stalled thanks to the high waters.

“The water made my motorbike break down, and now I have to pay for the repairs,” she said. “When the flood comes, I don’t know where the potholes are, so when I ride my motorbike, an accident might happen” she said.

“The trash in the drainage system also prevents the water from flowing out . . . and when it rains, a lot of trash piles up at the drainage covers,” she added.

So Nalin, also 19, said her motorbike had fallen victim to the flooding as well.

“My motorbike’s engine cannot be started, and now I am late after it rained heavily and flooding occurred . . . I want City Hall to check the standard of the drainage system and improve it,” said Nalin, travelling from her house in Toek Thla.

Tha Sopheap, a 50 year-old street vendor on Kampuchea Krom Boulevard, lamented the loss of customers. “Once it rains and the flood comes, no one comes to eat,” she said.

All of the locals interviewed called on the city government to improve the drainage system, but Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng said the rain had simply been too heavy, and flooding was inevitable.

“The storm is a natural phenomenon, and the water cannot just disappear immediately after the rain dies down,” he said, but added that authorities would try to improve drainage next year.

Criticism earlier this week of the city’s drainage system by municipal official Khut Sopheap resulted in her abrupt sacking. But in spite of the sentiment being widely shared across capital residents, municipal Information Department Director Khuth Sopheap – who is also the offending official’s brother – stood by the decision, saying the criticism could “not be tolerated”.

“She cursed people on Facebook,” he maintained, despite the fact that the post only expressed shame at the frequency of flooding. “This is her mistake, and it means that she has no longevity as a government official. As I am her superior, I cannot tolerate that.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Families told to register for cash handouts

    The government has called on poor families to apply to commune authorities for evaluation to receive financial support during the Covid-19 crisis. A $300 million budget has been planned for implementation within a year. Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Vongsey Visoth said this

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Nod given for school exams

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport announced that State-run higher educational institutions can hold examinations to end the academic year, while private schools can organise grade 9 and grade 12 examinations at their premises for two days. However, private institutions have to take measures to prevent