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Tropical storm wreaks havoc

Villagers wade through floodwater last week in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town after heavy rains.
Villagers wade through floodwater last week in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town after heavy rains. STRINGER

Tropical storm wreaks havoc

A tropical storm that raked Vietnam for the past two days has affected five Cambodian provinces, with severe flooding and damage in three of them.

Tropical storm Mangkhut descended on Northern Vietnam on Wednesday and yesterday, deluging the Mekong River and flooding areas of Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Kratie, and Preah Vihear provinces, according to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology.

Mild floodwater began hitting Kratie and Kampong Thom last week but rose swiftly due to Mangkhut, destroying hundreds of hectares of farmland and threatening to destroy much more.

About 250 hectares of farmland has been submerged in Kampong Thom’s Kampong Svay district, said Thiev Vanty, who directs the Kampong Thom agriculture department. Floodwater continued to rise by up to six millimetres each day.

Neighbouring Kratie has lost 100 hectares of farm and agricultural land to the same flooding, with an additional 660 hectares threatened if water doesn’t dissipate soon, said Kuch Hout, Kratie’s agriculture department director.

“Flooding is still rising today; it destroyed our farmland,” Hout said. “It is not yet as serious compared with flooding in the past two years, but we have to be careful.”

Water from Mangkhut also further exacerbated flooding in Banteay Meanchey, where more than 500 families were evacuated last week due to heavy rain from Thailand. Early this week, residents reported water reaching chest level in some parts.

Ngor Mengchroun, governor of Poipet town, said at least 300 houses remain flooded. Local authorities are continuing to aid the affected families, bringing those who refused to leave 10 tonnes of rice, 300 boxes of noodles and 600 bottles of water, he said.

“Most of the families have evacuated,” Mengchroun said. “But we have to help” those who haven’t, he said.

If floodwaters do not dissipate in less than 10 days, infrastructure and agriculture in the affected provinces could be seriously damaged, National Committee for Disaster Management cabinet chief Keo Vy said.

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