Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology Thor Chetha and Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang conducted an inspection of the flood-affected area in Kong Pisei district’s Snam Krapoeu commune.

They also distributed humanitarian aid from the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) provincial branch to 120 affected families at Wat Botum Van, also known as Wat Kraing Krouch on October 16.

During the inspection, Chetha explained that the ministry would investigate the causes of the flooding and devise strategies for preventing future reoccurrences.

“This flooding was due to unusually heavy rainfall, and not just from the Stung Prek Tnaot (Prek Tnaot River). We are here to help solve this problem, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation and the Kampong Speu provincial governor,” he said.

Chetha urged residents in the affected area to cooperate with local authorities and the ministries to facilitate the swift draining of the inundated areas. He also highlighted the need for cooperation with the public works ministry, due to the roadways being under its jurisdiction.

“We will work closely with all relevant ministries and the provincial governor to address current flooding and prevent future incidents. After conducting a thorough study, we will request urgent government intervention,” he added.

Samnang reported that, according to the provincial administration’s working group, 302 houses had been affected by the flooding, with some completely inundated, while others experienced minor damage. Additionally, nine factories, employing over 4,000 workers, were impacted by flash floods, albeit not severely.

“To address these issues, we will collaborate with the relevant government institutions and the Takeo provincial administration to manage the water flow, which appears to have been affected by land development obstructing the flow of some upstream waterways,” Samnang stated.

He acknowledged that while solutions could reduce flooding impacts, complete prevention may not be possible, citing examples from other cities such as Bangkok and some major US cities.

Soth Kimkolmony, spokesperson for the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), stated that as of October 16, floods had affected 12 provinces, with Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap and Kampong Speu remaining partially affected. He noted a gradual receding of water levels but also mentioned ongoing flooding in Kandal and Takeo provinces.

In Kampong Speu province, over 500 families were affected by the floods, leading to the evacuation of 17 families to safer locations. The provincial disaster management committee worked in conjunction with local authorities to respond to the situation.

The administration also announced the continued suspension of traffic on National Road (NR) 3 between kilometre markers 47-48 and 51-52 in Kong Pisei district due to flash flooding.

An October 12 statement from the water ministry highlighted the continued influence of the El Nino phenomenon, which is expected to persist until April 2024. The statement also indicated a significant decrease in rainfall from late October.

The ministry urged the directors of the capital and provincial water resources and meterorology departments to prioritise water conservation and assess existing water resources. This evaluation will inform a plan for water usage, dividing resources for daily needs and dry season rice cultivation, potentially with adjustments to meet planting requirements.