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Flooding claims another life

A young boy plays on his bike along a flooded road in Kampong Cham
A young boy plays on his bike along a flooded road in Kampong Cham last week after heavy rain saw waters rise. More than 4,400 families have been evacuated from areas affected by flooding. Heng Chivoan

Flooding claims another life

The death toll from recent floods has reached six people, while inundations have caused more than 4,400 families across four provinces to be evacuated from their homes, according to the National Committee for Disaster Management.

“The full extent of the damage is not known yet,” said Nhem Vanda, senior officer at the NCDM. “However, this year’s flooding is not as bad as last year’s because while the water rose quickly, it hasn’t done so as aggressively. Moreover, water levels are receding bit by bit, but this may change if more rain falls.”

The evacuated families came from the most seriously affected provinces of Stung Treng, Kratie, Kampong Cham and Tbong Khmum.

On Saturday, a dam in Kratie province’s Prek Prasap district collapsed due to the flooding. The dam stored millions of cubic metres of water, and financial damages were estimated at over $1.2 million, Vanda said.

The government has set up a plan to mitigate the damage and help people better prepare for and respond to flooding, he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen called yesterday for people in affected areas to be cautious because “authorities cannot go and settle all emergencies for them. If they do not leave their children alone at home, deaths can be avoided.”

According to Hun Sen, the water in Stung Treng province has receded, while levels in Kratie and Kampong Cham remain above emergency levels. Thus far, 13 provinces have been affected by rainy season floods and overflow from the Mekong River, Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology spokesperson Chan Yutha said.

The rising waters usually occur between August and October, at the peak of Cambodia’s rainy season.

Catastrophic flooding late last year left 168 people dead and 29 injured, and caused an estimated $356 million in damages.

Mao Hak, deputy director of technical works at the Department of Hydrology and River Work, told the Post last week that the capital is out of harm’s way from floods for now, though he suspects the risk will increase with time.

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