As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month.
Banteay Meanchey provincial hall spokesman Ly Sary told The Post that the water level of the Mongkol Borei and the Sisophon rivers had risen above the alert levels after water continued to flow into the province from Thailand and the Bavel River in Battambang. As a result, 22,178 houses close to the rivers and in the lowlands were affected.
“Flash flood disasters have caused 15 deaths and 13,763 out of 196,536 people affected by floods have been evacuated to safer areas. [For crops], 50,000ha of rice crops and nearly 10,000ha of cassava and cash crops were completely flooded,” Sary said.
Infrastructure was also damaged. Thousands of students were affected as 118 schools in the province were inundated. Nine health centres and five commune halls were flooded, affecting public services in communities. Floods also damaged 596 roads totalling 386km in the province, which affected travel and the transport of goods.
According to Sary, the three most-affected areas in Banteay Meanchey were Poipet town, O’Chrov and Thma Puok districts.
“At this time, the speed of water flowing from Thailand along border canals in those three locations has slightly decreased compared to Sunday, when it rained heavily in the north near the Thai-Cambodian border,” Sary said.
With the cooperation of local authorities and the armed forces, many families in the lowlands along the canal were evacuated to safe places. Authorities provided locals with first aid, food, blankets, tents and mosquito nets.
Bu Chhin, a resident of Prey Kup village in Poipet town’s Phsar Kandal commune, told The Post that his village had been flooded to waist level by Monday morning, but his family had not yet decided to leave for safety.
“The floods were caused by heavy rains for several days in a row and by Thailand opening floodgates in the upper area. However, the floodwaters may recede in the next four to five days at the latest if there is no rain and if Thailand closed their gates,” Chhin said.
Thai authorities in Sa Kaeo province on Thursday last week informed Cambodia of the opening of a water gate in the upper part of Aranyaprathet district and called on Cambodians living in the lowlands along the border canals to be aware of flooding, according to Khun Sokha, spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management.
As of Monday, he said flash floods had killed 25 people throughout the country and affected more than 80,000 houses. Roughly 340,000 people had been affected and 37,396 had been evacuated to safer, higher grounds. The floods affected more than 300,000ha of rice and cash crops and more than 1,800km of roads throughout the country.