At least one man died after being washed away by flood waters in Sihanoukville, as heavy rains sent water pouring into houses and submerged some roads on the evening of August 24.
Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesman Kheang Phearom told The Post on August 25 that authorities had not yet determined the full extent of the damage caused by the flooding as it was still raining heavily in the province.
“The provincial administration would like to call on all people to be extra careful and find a safe place to wait out the storm. Do not leave your homes unless absolutely necessary. In particular, do not travel on submerged roads, down slopes or near any places with rapidly flowing water to avoid possible accidents,” he said.
He said that on the evening of August 24 from 5-8pm, there was moderate to heavy rain in Sihanoukville, with rainfall steadily rising to a total of 285.81mm, which caused flooding in low-lying areas and eventually overtopping the main canals in Sihanoukville after 10pm.
The provincial administration said the man’s death was caused by the flooding on the evening of August 24 when he was washed away by the strength of the floodwaters’ current and drowned.
Police identified the deceased as a Chinese national residing in Cambodia and said his body was found floating in the water near O’Achmoek commune’s village IV in Sihanoukville around 9am on August 25.
Sun Sophat, head of the Cambodia Coalition of Farmer Community’s (CCFC), said that as of the evening of August 25 the downpour in Sihanoukville had not let up.
“The floods in Sihanoukville occur because this area is mountainous, with plateaus and steep slopes and the drainage systems in the city are not yet able to sustain large amounts of water when it rains heavily,” he said.
He added that the provincial administration should build a drainage canal network to release more water from the city into the sea in addition to setting up other drainage systems and making use of other proven flood mitigation techniques.
“If Sihanoukville continues to build sewage waste pipes, and rely on them for drainage, then rain water will continue to cause the city to flood, because the rate that the water flows through the sewer system isn’t sufficient to deal with the amount of rainfall.
“When it rains heavily, the sewage system gets clogged with waste and water cannot flow out from it as fast as it does the drainage canals,” Sophat said.
Flooding also took place in Koh Kong, with many of the streets underwater along with a significant number of water-logged houses.
Provincial governor Mithona Phouthong said the heavy rains on August 24 caused some flooding by overwhelming the drainage system, but the waters had receded by the morning of August 25. She called on all Koh Kong residents to maintain caution and be alert to any changes in the weather.
The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology informed the public on August 24 that Cambodia will be affected by a low pressure system from August 25-31, increasing the likelihood of heavy rainfall for much of the country.