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Floods claim three children

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The Mekong River water level has risen since late last month as the country is under the influence of low pressure from the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Photo supplied

Floods claim three children

Three children were killed and nearly 1,300 families evacuated to higher ground due to floods caused by heavy rains and rising water level of the Mekong River, the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) said.

NCDM spokesman Keo Vy told The Post on Thursday that floods caused by heavy downpours had inundated four districts in Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey provinces.

In Preah Vihear’s Choam Ksan district, a two-year-old boy died on Tuesday when he was swept away by strong currents flowing through a canal.

The child was a pillion rider on a motorbike with his parents amid heavy downpours when the bike veered off the slippery road into the canal, district governor Chea Kim Seng said.

In Stung Treng and Kratie provinces, the Mekong River floods inundated 11 districts and claimed the lives of two children in Kratie’s Chhlong and Sambor districts.

Kratie provincial deputy governor Khan Chamnan said one of them, an 11-year-old girl from Chhlong district’s Pongro commune, died nearly instantly when she fell off the stairs and drowned.

The boy, an 18-month-old from Sambor district’s Sandan commune, also died from drowning.

“Thousands of families in the four provinces have suffered, while 234 families in Stung Treng and 1,048 others in Kratie have relocated to higher grounds for safety,” Vy said.

Vy said the upper Mekong River floods had caused riverbank collapses totalling 16,000m in provinces along the lower Mekong such as Kratie, Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum, and Kandal provinces.

Tens of thousands of hectares of rice and other crops have been submerged, while some physical infrastructures have suffered damages.

He said the committee was prepared to address food shortages with 10,000 tonnes of rice, 2,000 tonnes of rice seed, and 50,000 tonnes of vegetable seed ready to be distributed to flood victims.

The Mekong River water level has risen since late last month as the country is under the influence of low pressure from the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), tropical storm Kajiki and Southwest Monsoon strong winds.

The weather phenomenon has triggered floods in Stung Treng and Kratie provinces since Tuesday.

Pang Peng, the director of the Stung Treng provincial Department of Water Resource and Meteorology, said the Mekong water level in the province had reached 11.59m – more than 0.71m above the safety level. This has in turn inundated all lowland areas in the province.

“Our officials and members of the armed forces are working to evacuate people to safer places,” he said.

Chamnan told The Post that as of 5pm on Thursday, the Mekong water level in the province had reached 21.92m – close to the emergency level of 22m.

He said thousands of homes in lowland areas in five of the province’s districts have been inundated, while residents have been evacuated to higher grounds.

“By Thursday evening, our forces have evacuated 1,048 families along with nearly 2,000 domestic animals,” he said.

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