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Deaths of two soldiers bring flood toll to 18

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People travelling on a flooded road in Banteay Meanchey province on September 22. POLICE

Deaths of two soldiers bring flood toll to 18

Since January up until October 2, floods had killed at least 18 people and affected more than 115,000ha of rice fields, according to the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).

NCDM spokesman Soth Kim Kolmony told The Post that two border guards – Chhorn Sideth, 39, and Van Thon, 23, both from infantry brigade 42 based at Ta Moan Temple in Oddar Meanchey province – sacrificed their lives to save two boys from drowning in Banteay Ampil district’s Kok Mon commune on October 1.

“The deaths of the two military service members brought the total number of people who have drowned in the floods this year to 18 in five provinces – seven in Banteay Meanchey, four in Pursat, three each in Kampong Thom and Oddar Meanchey, and one in Battambang,” he said.

According to the NCDM report seen by The Post on October 2, as of September 25, flash floods had inundated 20,289 homes, affecting 66,365 households with 1,498 of them evacuated to higher grounds.

The floods have also affected a total of 115,446ha of rice fields and damaged a total of 27,807ha, with another 22,258ha of mixed crops affected, of which 4,190ha were ravaged.

The floods also affected 26km of asphalt and concrete roads and more than 287km of rural roads, of which 35km were damaged. The floods also affected 44 bridges and collapsed or damaged dams and reservoirs totalling 20km with 2km of collapsed river banks.

A total of 206 schools, 15 health centres and 52 pagodas were also affected.

So far, the flooding situation in the eastern part of Banteay Meanchey has been improving gradually with the waters receding. But in the northern, western and southern parts of the province, especially along the Cambodia-Thailand border, the water levels are actually still rising slightly, according to provincial governor Oum Reatrey.

Reatrey said the water levels of Thmor Puok and Svay Chek rivers have risen slightly. Meanwhile, the waters of O’Bei Choan to the east of the O’Bei Choan border checkpoint in the village and commune of the same name have inundated the homes of 51 households, 10 of them were evacuated to safety.

In Poipet town, the water levels of the O’Chrou River along the Cambodian-Thai border continued to rise, affecting 115 households in O’Chrou commune’s Poipet village, 51 of them were evacuated. At the lake along the border in Malai district’s Boeung Beng commune, another 69 households were affected by the floods, 17 of them were evacuated.

“At this time, our authorities have brought emergency aid such as rice, medicines, mosquito nets, and other food for the people affected by floods at their locations and in safe places to help ease their burdens,” he said.

Separately in Stung Treng province, authorities have been evacuating people along the Sekong River to safe places as the waters have risen past the alarm level.

Pang Peng, director of the provincial Department of Water Resources and Meteorology, told The Post that as of 3:30pm on October 2, the water level of the Sekong River had risen to 11.65m, 15cm above the emergency level.

“Currently, about 40 households in the lowlands along the Sekong River in Siem Pang district are flooded and our authorities are intervening to evacuate people to safety,” he said.

According to Peng, the weather forecast for the province is currently cloudy and rainy with light to moderate rainfall, which indicates the flooding may continue for now.

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