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Flooding’s deadly toll rises

Two men work in a flooded field to build a levee to protect their cucumber crop from surging waters in Prek Takov village
Two men work in a flooded field to build a levee to protect their cucumber crop from surging waters in Prek Takov village in Kandal yesterday. Heng Chivoan

Flooding’s deadly toll rises

The death toll from lethal floods has climbed to 27, with more than 10,000 families across 12 provinces evacuated from their homes to escape rising floodwaters, according to a report from the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).

The report, released yesterday, also shows that almost 90,000 hectares of crops have been inundated and more than 50,000 houses damaged by floodwater.

Keo Vy, NCDM cabinet chief, said the financial cost of the devastation is still not known.

“We do not know the total cost of the damages yet, because it is not yet time. The experts will summarise the damages within five or six days,” Vy said.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology issued a notice yesterday stating that the floods were caused by heavy rains in the Mekong River basin as well as Thailand and Laos.

The rainwater flooded parts of the Mekong and Stung Sen rivers, causing floods in provinces bordering the mighty waterways.

The waters have receded in the northeastern provinces of Stung Treng and Kratie, but floods will keep affecting provinces along the Tonle Sap and lower parts of the Mekong, the notice says.

Because water is still flowing into these low areas, the southern provinces of Prey Veng, Kandal, and Takeo may flood within seven days. Water levels in Kampong Thom province are expected to go over emergency levels, the notice reads, with floods potentially lasting seven to ten days.

Kandal province has prepared hundreds of provincial and local authorities to intervene in flood-affected areas, and will send food and other resources to help affected residents, said Kandal governor Phay Bunchoeun.

“Police, military police and the local authorities are ready for action, and we are collecting information about affected people in Lvea Em and Kien Svay districts to deliver supplies to them,” he said.

Fears of disease are rising as members of evacuated families continue to huddle in safe relocation hills Dr Char Meng Chou, director of the Ministry of Health’s anti-malaria centre, has appealed to the relocated families to be aware of the risk of diarrhea, malaria and dengue.

Conditions among the safe hills, which lack toilets and basic plumbing, could easily lead to disease, he said.

“To prevent these problems, the flood victims should adhere to a strict policy of only eating and drinking clean food and water, and live in a clean manner,” Meng Chou said.

People returning to their villages once floods recede are also at risk, as stagnant pools of leftover floodwater create ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed, spreading dengue and malaria.

“Flood victims must wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers at night, and sleep under mosquito nets. If they get a high temperature, they must quickly see the nearest doctor,” Chou said.

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