Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Flooded prison evacuated

Flooded prison evacuated

Prisoners at Banteay Meanchey were evacuated to neigbouring provinces after flooding inundated the prison compound
Prisoners at Banteay Meanchey were evacuated to neigbouring provinces yesterday after flooding inundated the prison compound. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Flooded prison evacuated

Flooding-induced water pressure caused a wall to collapse in Banteay Meanchey prison yesterday afternoon, instigating a mass evacuation of all inmates to Battambang and Siem Reap provincial prisons.

More than 850 inmates are incarcerated at Banteay Meanchey prison, according to figures released in August, raising concerns among rights groups over the potential for health problems as they are shifted to an already-overcrowded facility.

“Based on prison population numbers given in August of this year, 1,074 prisoners were being held at Battambang prison, 1,211 in Siem Reap and 859 in Banteay Meanchey,” said Sharon Critoph, a prison consultant for rights group Licadho.

Overcrowding in Battambang and Siem Reap prisons is worrisome, said Marie Dominique Parent, a deputy representative of the prison programs for the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“Battambang is of particular concern, which is why we’re working with relevant authorities to ensure prisoners continue being evacuated safely,” Dominique said yesterday.

Separately, 1,300 families were evacuated in Banteay Meanchey from flood-ravaged villages in Mongkol Borei, according to district governor In Sovichet.

Meanwhile, more than 60,000 Cambodians evacuated in the past two weeks are at risk of water-related disease outbreaks exacerbated by poor hygiene and sanitation conditions, aid agencies said.

Sonny Krishnan, communications officer for the World Health Organization in Cambodia, highlighted the risk of an increase in respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases, but stressed that exact numbers would be released by the Ministry of Health next week.

“The second assessment is currently under way to fully assess the health needs of the affected populations so we can determine what exactly needs to be distributed in each area. Surveillance systems for diseases such as influenza are on full alert,” Krishnan said.

Krishnan also noted that a team had been deployed from Phnom Penh to investigate the “influenza-like” outbreak in Mondulkiri’s Koh Nhek district.

“The problem is getting access to the district, because the area is 120 kilometres inland and the roads are severely damaged by the flooding,” Krishnan said.

Pagodas and schools have been transformed into makeshift evacuation zones in waterlogged provinces and are quickly becoming sites to distribute relief supplies, according to Jason Evans, World Vision Cambodia’s national director.

“We are distributing food items, water filters and water purification sachets, installing latrines and rubbish bins in the non-flooded areas where people move to,” Evans said.

Flooding initially hit 10 provinces in late September but has spread to 10 additional provinces as overflowing dams and flash floods are caused by heavy rainfall, according to the National Committee for Disaster Management.

More than 1.5 million people have been affected and at least 104 have died.


  • Phnom Penh’s Jet’s Container Night Market shuts down

    The famous Jet’s Container Night Market in central Phnom Penh has shut down due to the high cost of the land rental, company representatives claim. Jet’s Container Night Market is the largest such market in Phnom Penh. It operated for just over two

  • Hun Sen rejects ‘rift’ rumours spread by ‘stupid gangsters’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday denied a “rift” among top leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and rejected claims that Senate president Say Chhum and Interior Minister Sar Kheng were set to be removed from their positions as rumours spread by “gangsters”.

  • EU ambassador to Cambodia: Rights a ‘work in progress’

    The EU ambassador to Cambodia has called human rights “a work in progress” and said the 28-nation bloc has “carefully” noted last week’s statement by the government on taking further steps to strengthen democracy and the political sphere in the Kingdom. The EU marked

  • Assembly passes amendment to Political Party Law Article 45

    The National Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved a proposed amendment to Article 45 of the Law on Political Parties in a move that could pave the way for former senior opposition leaders banned for five years to return to the political stage. As expected, the 115 ruling