Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thousands flee reservoir

Thousands flee reservoir

Villagers in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district row a boat through floodwaters
Villagers in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district row a boat through floodwaters. VIREAK MAI

Thousands flee reservoir

Surging floodwaters led officials to declare a state of emergency at a commune in Banteay Meanchey province on Saturday night after the Trapaing Thma reservoir expanded an estimated 200 metres.

Many of some 2,000 families living close to the Khmer Rouge-era reservoir in Phnom Srok district chose to evacuate after an initial surge pushed the reservoir back 100 metres, Poy Char commune chief Peng Ben Thara said yesterday.

“On Saturday, we declared [the situation] an emergency in case a bad thing happened and we could not prevent it. We know some people have run for safety,” Bun Thara said, adding that rainfall has decreased since Saturday, but officials are remaining vigilant. “We have used sandbags and sticks for fences to prevent the reservoir [from flooding], and we are always on high alert because we do not dare [risk] a break,” he said.

Despite more than 700 people assisting with sandbagging efforts, residents remain worried, 41-year-old Phnom Srok resident Chun Den said.

“Please … [Prime Minister Hun Sen], help add more forces and vehicles, because we currently only have five cars” available, she said.

Due to a recent decrease in rainfall, however, flooding had begun to ease in some parts of Banteay Meanchey, provincial spokesman Ouk Keo Rattanak said.

“Water in some places has receded 20 centimetres because of a decrease in rain for three days, but in Serey Sophorn, Mongkol Borei and Preah Netr districts, water is stagnant,” he said.

National Road 5, connecting Battambang and Banteay Meanchey, remains waterlogged.

More than 1.5 million Cambodians have been affected by flooding and at least 104 killed.

The National Committee on Disaster Management has yet to release new information on the number of people whose health has been impacted by floods and could not be reached for comment.

Increased risk of water- and vector-borne diseases, including but not limited to typhoid fever, acute watery diarrhoea, leptospirosis, hepatitis A, malaria and dengue fever, have been outlined as plausible by the World Health Organization.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AMELIA WOODSIDE

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen rejects ‘rift’ rumours spread by ‘stupid gangsters’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday denied a “rift” among top leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and rejected claims that Senate president Say Chhum and Interior Minister Sar Kheng were set to be removed from their positions as rumours spread by “gangsters”.

  • Huge 3.5-tonne ivory haul seized in capital

    Working with US officials, Phnom Penh Autonomous Port has uncovered almost 3.5 tonnes of elephant ivory hidden in a container, the US Embassy in Cambodia said on Facebook on Saturday. A tip-off provided to the General Department of Customs and Excise by a US Fish and

  • EU ambassador to Cambodia: Rights a ‘work in progress’

    The EU ambassador to Cambodia has called human rights “a work in progress” and said the 28-nation bloc has “carefully” noted last week’s statement by the government on taking further steps to strengthen democracy and the political sphere in the Kingdom. The EU marked

  • Assembly passes amendment to Political Party Law Article 45

    The National Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved a proposed amendment to Article 45 of the Law on Political Parties in a move that could pave the way for former senior opposition leaders banned for five years to return to the political stage. As expected, the 115 ruling