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Heavy rainfall filling capital’s drain canals as flood threat looms

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Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng inspects the rising water levels at Stung Prek Tnaot in Dangkor district on Sunday. CITY HALL

Heavy rainfall filling capital’s drain canals as flood threat looms

Flash flooding caused by extremely heavy rainfall is affecting communities in the outer-suburbs of Phnom Penh – especially people residing in Prek Kampus, Sak Sampov and Kong Noy communes in Dangkor district.

The team from the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology are cooperating with specialists from the municipal department of public works and transport to make use of excavating equipment to increase drainage canal water-flow in order to siphon the rainwater into lakes, creeks and streams which then flow into the Bassac River.

While inspecting the work done by the technical team excavating the reservoirs of Dam 96 and Dam 94 on the morning of October 10, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology Lim Kean Hor told reporters that because the drainage system utilising streams, canals and lakes had been partly filled-in from the erosion of soil used to build earthworks that were not up to the necessary technical standards, the water flow was blocked and this was causing flooding after several days in a row of heavy rains.

“This flooding is not due to the floods from the Prek Tnaot River, it was flooded by rain, though it is not yet to a serious level.

“The natural waterway networks such as canals, streams and connected lakes that are all flowing into the Bassac River have been blocked by soil that is to some extent due to the construction of some roads and other structures that do not comply with the proper technical standards to maintain these waterways,” he explained.

Kean Hor added that the work of excavating the dam reservoirs had been sped up since the night of October 9, after the floodwaters topped the canals and flowed across the roads behind the Prek Kampus dam, inundating parts of Srey Snom village of Prek Kampus commune in Dangkor district in Phnom Penh and Chhmar Puon village in Choeung Koeub commune of Kandal Stung district in Kandal province.

On the morning of October 10, Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng was also on-site with local authorities to check out the situation in the flooded areas while distributing rice to 90 affected families in Sak Sampov and Kong Noy communes of Dangkor district.

“There are three main factors that make the western part of Phnom Penh suffer from severe flooding due to rainfall. A few days ago, the amount of rainfall reached up to 105 mm.

“Former streams, canals or rice fields have all been developed into plots of land with residential buildings and the fill-in of canals by some people is making it impossible for water to flow, causing flooding in this area,” he said.

Sreng assigned officials to monitor the area and liaise with residents so the city can intervene in a timely manner whenever flooding is reported and to allow residents in the area improved access to help and services provided by the capital’s administration.

Sam Piseth, director of the municipal department of public works and transport, said that as of the afternoon of October 10, the excavation of 37 canals along the road in Kamboul, Por Sen Chey and Prek Pnov districts – which all flow into Boeung Tamok Lake – was more than 70 per cent completed.

“According to the pace of work that has been achieved so far, the project to excavate the 37 canals along Win-Win boulevard may be completed within the week,” he said.

Elsewhere in the Kingdom, Chhun Buntha, director of the inter-sectoral office of the Banteay Meanchey provincial administration, told The Post that some towns and districts in the province had seen water levels recede but some floodwaters remained in Sisophon town and Mongkol Borei district.

“About 50 per cent of the people who were evacuated to higher ground because of the floods have now returned to their homes,” he said.

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