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One dead as heavy rains wreak havoc in Kandal and Phnom Penh

Workers attempt to secure a crane sling to a car yesterday after a sinkhole appeared next to a construction site in Phnom Penh.
Workers attempt to secure a crane sling to a car yesterday after a sinkhole appeared next to a construction site in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

One dead as heavy rains wreak havoc in Kandal and Phnom Penh

One man died and two people remain missing after a ferry in Kandal province sank during heavy monsoon rains yesterday, while three cars were swallowed by a sinkhole in a Phnom Penh road.

The Mekong River ferry was about 50 metres from Somrong Thom port in Kandal’s Lvea Em district just after midday when the storm struck, causing it to sink with 12 people aboard, according to deputy district police chief Tep Bunthoeun.

“A passenger drowned and two more disappeared; police are trying to find them now,” Bunthoeun said.

Bunthoeun identified the victim as Chheun Ko, a 53-year-old farmer from Lvea Em district’s Koh Keo commune.

The boat’s owner, Srun Thai, said one of those missing was a crew member known as “Chea”, while the other was a 5-year-old girl, the daughter of a passenger who has joined the search along with other villagers and local officials.

“I am really sorry and send my deep condolences to the victim’s family since this is an accident,” Thai said, noting the sky was clear when the ferry launched.

Lasting about an hour, the deluge quickly turned Phnom Penh’s streets into flowing torrents of water, though most of the flooding had subsided by late afternoon. A number of cars were damaged by falling trees, however no injuries were reported.

People surround a sinkhole near the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh yesterday afternoon after the roadside gave way during heavy rain.
People surround a sinkhole near the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh yesterday afternoon after the roadside gave way during heavy rain. Pha Lina

Three parked cars were also swallowed up by a 10-metre-long and 2-metre-deep sinkhole which opened up in Street 163, near a building site to the east of the Olympic Stadium.

Horn Vibol, deputy police chief of Prampi Makara district, where the incident happened, said that the vehicles were not badly damaged and were retrieved with a crane.

Vibol blamed the construction for the collapse, and said the company would be asked to pay for the damage. Experts are currently inspecting the site, he added.

Vibol also raised concerns that other roads in the area were also vulnerable.

“The foundation construction of those huge buildings may cause such collapses or damage the road’s quality,” Vibol said.

Meanwhile, incidents of flooded houses were reported in Daun Penh district’s Psar Kandal commune, Chamkarmon district’s Tonle Bassac commune and around Tuol Kork district’s Doeum Kor Market.

Kem Lean, a 48-year-old from Tonle Bassac commune, yesterday blamed the city’s drainage system.

“Whenever it rains heavily, my house is flooded,” he said.

The director of City Hall’s public works department, Sang Piseth, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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