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Floods force people to leave homes again

Floods force people to leave homes again

Several hundred people were re-evacuated from Banteay Meanchey’s inundated O’Chrou and Thma Puok districts yesterday, as the official death toll from this year’s floods climbed to 168.

Kheng Som, Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief, said 200 families had to be moved to relocation sites after heavy rains flooded the Thailand-Cambodia border.

“They came back to their homes after the flood receded a few days ago, but [yesterday] the floods came again,” he said. “We decided to move them to an evacuation area again to ensure their safety and health.”

Dieb Chhoun, acting governor of Thmar Puok district, said efforts to rebuild after the previous round of flooding had not yet started.

“The flooding in Banteay Meanchey is still serious. We have not yet [started] working to restore houses and infrastructure and now we have floods again,” Chhoun said.

The government on Sunday convened a meeting of officials from the 20 affected provinces to determine the scale of the damage as floodwater levels began to recede.

Om Em, 47, a resident of O’Chrou district’s O’Beichoan commune, explained how the deluge made it hard to make ends meet.

“We just came back home one week ago, but we [were] forced to evacuate again because of flash floods. We could not take our property from the house. We will face a lack of food and money,” he said.

Nhim Vanda, first vice president of the National Commitee for Disaster Management (NCDM), said that out of the 168 people confirmed to have died in the floods, more than 40 per cent were children, adding that the government would pay out one million riel ($244) to each of the victims’ families.

Vanda added that the NCDM estimates the cost of property damage from the flooding to be about $500 million. Japan yesterday donated 32 million yen ($326,000) towards emergency relief and Thailand pledged 6 million baht ($194,000).

According to the NCDM, more than 1.7 million people have been affected and 27,700 families forced to evacuate.

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