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Inmates evacuated, schools closed as flooding takes toll

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Prisoners were evacuated from Banteay Meanchey provincial prison after the rain-induced floods in the past few days. FN

Inmates evacuated, schools closed as flooding takes toll

Thousands of students in Battambang province missed school while over 1,000 prisoners in Banteay Meanchey province were evacuated because of rain-induced floods in the past few days.

Yi Songky, director of the provincial Department of Education, Youth and Sport, said floods affected 316 schools in Battambang. Over 200 schools were suspended temporarily after floodwaters rose to a level that did not allow students to attend class.

“Through my estimation, thousands of students are not able to study. The most affected schools are primary schools because they are located in villages. High schools are also affected but not as much because they are located in towns.

“If there is no more rainfall, water in our schools will recede quickly and our students will be able to return quickly,” said Songky.

Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post on Tuesday that a minority of schools in provinces were flooded and closed temporarily. He said the ministry is focused on maintaining safety.

“The ministry works in collaboration with local authorities to prepare materials needed to rescue students in an actual situation. We ask students and teachers to increase awareness in this rainy season,” he said.

The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) reported that schools in Battambang were affected the most, while other provinces were inconvenienced slightly, including Banteay Meanchey, Takeo, Stung Treng, Pailin and Siem Reap.

Prisoners also bear the brunt. Banteay Meanchey provincial prison director Ung Siphan told The Post on Tuesday the flooding forced the evacuation of prisoners after it reached 15cm.

“We’ve evacuated 811 of the 1,612 prisoners to the Siem Reap provincial prison. The remaining inmates are being shipped to other provinces temporarily to keep them safe,” Siphan said.

The flooding has left several people dead and others evacuated. It has also affected crops and infrastructure.

Banteay Meanchey provincial hall spokesman Ly Sary told The Post that floods in the province killed five people, while 1,300 among 13,276 people were evacuated to safe places when their houses were flooded entirely.

It has affected 5,841ha of rice crops, 366ha of cassava crops, 201 pieces of infrastructure, 23 pagodas, 25 schools, and three health centres.

The Ministry of Water Resource and Meteorology predicted Cambodia will continue to be hit by a low-pressure sytem. Tropical Storm Naga is the 16th such storm this year coming from the South China Sea. Another powerful storm named Sodel is expected to reach parts of the country from October 15 to 20.

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