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Flooding strands hundreds

Villagers in Ratanakkiri province’s Lumphat district wade through floodwater
Villagers in Ratanakkiri province’s Lumphat district wade through floodwater. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Flooding strands hundreds

About 200 families in Ratanakkiri’s Lumphat district were stranded in their homes late yesterday after heavy rain caused a dam to overflow, flooding villages, damaging crops and claiming livestock, a government official said.

Kong Srun, Lumphat district governor, said heavy downpours, which hit many parts of the province, had also submerged bridges and a national road, adding to the difficulty of trying to evacuate trapped families from four villages in Lbaing 1 commune.

“The floodwater in these villages is more than one metre high,” he said. “Many of these families, luckily, live in houses that are built very high, so we have not had to evacuate them immediately. But we’ve still told them to be careful.”

Villager Toch Yon told the Post by telephone that the situation was much more urgent, making a plea to authorities to bring him food and evacuate his family.

“It’s only me and my granddaughter here,” he said. “The water has swept everything else away.”

Fellow villager Som Soth, 30, said by telephone that he could not come down from the top level of his house because the water was almost up to his head.

“There was heavy rain during the night,” he said. “When I came out here in the morning, it was up to my neck. It came so fast that we had no time to prepare – we saw our farm animals floating on the water.”

Srun, the district governor, said the heavy rain that hit the area had been forecast days before. The downpour had caused an irrigation dam to overflow and send water rushing into nearby villages, giving residents no time to flee the area.

National Road 76A was under water, while the level of a nearby river had reached seven metres, he added.

Chhay Thy, a provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the heavy rains had effectively trapped people and they now needed help.

“The residents who live in Lumphat cannot leave their homes to go to work or to school,” he said.

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