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Thousands affected by flooding, strong winds in first half of August

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Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology Lim Kean Hor on Thursday urged the media to disseminate up-to-date information. Heng Chivoan

Thousands affected by flooding, strong winds in first half of August

Almost 8,000 families and some 8,000ha of agricultural land in eight provinces have been affected by flooding and strong winds in August, National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman Keo Vy said on Thursday.

Speaking at a press conference at the Council of Ministers, he said the main reasons for the storms were a series of low-pressure systems and the southwest monsoon.

He said people, houses, crops and livestock had been affected in Battambang, Kampong Thom, Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong, Mondulkiri, Preah Sihanouk and Ratanakkiri provinces. Of these, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Ratanakkiri provinces had been hardest hit.

Vy said 7,999 families, 6,898 houses and 5,447 animals had been affected, with flooding of paddy fields and other crops on some 8,000ha. Some 300ha were damaged.

“After the seventh storm faded away, there were three consecutive storms and that’s why wind and rain have affected Cambodia’s coastal provinces and areas near the Vietnamese border. But the weather has improved and floods have receded, so villagers have gone back to their homes,” he said.

Preah Sihanouk provincial administration spokesman Kheang Phearum said that flooding in August had affected 1,736 families and 937 houses in four communes in Sihanoukville, particularly in Prey Nop district.

He said cars, motorbikes, generators and electrical equipment had been damaged. “As of this evening, it’s raining again and now we’re watching to see if there is more flooding,” Phearum said.

At the press conference, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology Lim Kean Hor urged the media to continue disseminating up-to-date information about the floods. “I would like to ask that this issue not be sensationalised for political purposes.

“There are two types of flooding in Cambodia – one is caused by rainfall, and the other by flooding caused by the Mekong River. But so far the Mekong River has not risen to dangerous levels. The areas that have seen flooding have just experienced more rainfall than they could cope with,” he said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said flooding and droughts have been happening at the same time in some provinces this year. The solution, he said, was to transfer water from flooded locations to drought-affected areas. He promised that the issue would be discussed with the relevant ministries.

There have been dry spells this year in several northwest provinces and flooding in coastal and Vietnamese border provinces, affecting thousands of hectares of paddy fields.

Last week, three people died due to floods in Preah Sihanouk province while a 15-year-old girl drowned after a ferry sank in Ratanakkiri province.

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