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Flood toll expected to rise further, gov’t warns

A woman paddles her way through her Meanchey district neighbourhood in Phnom Penh last week
A woman paddles her way through her Meanchey district neighbourhood in Phnom Penh last week. HENG CHIVOAN

Flood toll expected to rise further, gov’t warns

Flooding continues to ravage 15 of Cambodia’s 23 provinces, acutely affecting Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Pailin and Siem Reap, and claiming 83 lives, according to the latest figures released by the National Committee for Disaster Management.

Nhim Vanda, first deputy chairman of the NCDM, confirmed that while 83 people had been found dead as of yesterday, the figure was expected to rise, with more than 800,000 people and 120,000 hectares of land already impacted.

“Floods along National Road 5 became serious [on Tuesday] because of heavy rain at the Thai-Cambodian border,” Vanda said.

Flash floods have hit all 14 districts in Battambang, leading to the evacuation of over 700 families working and residing near Banan district’s Kampong Pouy reservoir, provincial governor Prach Chan said.

“[Yesterday] we decided to evacuate more than 100 people who live and work near Kampong Pouy reservoir because the dam is causing flash flooding and we want to avoid more drownings,” Chan said, adding that 10 people have already drowned in the province. Siem Reap authorities are attempting to combat flooding at Angkor Archaeological Park and the airport by diverting water from the area, town governor Khim Bun Song said.

In Pailin province, flooding had wreaked havoc on thousands of homes, leading to further evacuations yesterday, provincial cabinet chief Sao Sarath, said.

“The floods in Pailin [yesterday] have led to thousands of families being evacuated,” Sarath told the Post.

Mondulkiri, meanwhile, has not only been hit with flooding but also a bout of influenza affecting at least 553 residents, including 72 women and 45 seniors, Koh Nhek district police chief Klout Sophea said.

“Provincial and district health department officials have been sent to cure the villagers and analyse the symptoms,” Nhek said.

Heavy rains and wet weather create a prime breeding ground for what is most likely seasonal influenza, Sonny Krishnan, communications officer at the World Health Organization, said.

“The WHO is helping the Ministry of Health investigate these mild cases of influenza. The increase of cases is not unexpected in this weather,” he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday cancelled the annual Water Festival citing flooding.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MOM KUNTHEAR AND THIK KALIYANN

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