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Hun Sen visits Banteay Meanchey as dam in Poipet collapses

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Villagers receive aid in flood-ravaged Banteay Meanchey province. Banteay Meanchey Provincial Hall

Hun Sen visits Banteay Meanchey as dam in Poipet collapses

Prime Minister Hun Sen travelled to Banteay Meanchey province on Tuesday to inspect the flooding situation and visit victims after the Ou’Khaidorn Dam in Poipet town’s Phsar Kandal commune collapsed, inundating houses and dirt roads in the town with water.

In a Facebook post, he said: “I will carry out work for two days in Banteay Meanchey province from October 21-22 before returning to Phnom Penh to lead a Council of Ministers meeting on October 23. Banteay Meanchey is the hardest- and longest-hit province and needs to be prioritised for rescue and restoration after the floods.”

According to a press release published on Tuesday, the prime minister will visit flood victims in two locations on National Road 5. He will visit Bot Trang commune’s Bot Trang village and Chamkar Ta Daok village’s Phsar Thom Thmey Borey Chey II in Mongkol Borei district’s Russey Krork commune.

On Thursday morning, Hun Sen will meet victims at the compound of Hang Sipha Market in Thma Puok district’s Komrou commune and the northern compound of the Roundabout of National Road 58 in Poipet town.

According to the reports from the province, 16 people have drowned due to the floods. More than 200,000 people have been severely impacted and 16,520 have been evacuated to higher ground.

The floods also affected a total of 62,334ha of rice crops, 9,880ha of cassava crops and 543ha of cash crops. In the province, 134 schools have been closed temporarily. The floods also affected 60 pagodas, five commune halls, nine health centres and 741 roads spanning nearly 500km.

Banteay Meanchey provincial hall spokesman Ly Sary told The Post on Tuesday that water levels in the Mongkol Borei and Serey Sophoan rivers and various streams continued to steadily rise.

“Banteay Meanchey province suffered the longest and hardest inundation [of floodwater] because our geography is a low-lying area. It not only experienced the influence of rain-induced floods in [Poipet], but also experienced rain-induced floods from Thailand,” he said.

Sary added that Poipet town is experiencing severe complications because strong currents flowing from Thailand via the border stream had compromised the Ou’Khaidorn Dam. The dam stored millions of cubic metres of waters.

In order to ensure safety and avoid serious damage to roads, the Poipet town administration decided on Tuesday to temporarily halt traffic of all trucks on National Road 5 from the Hermitage of Lok Yeay Mao – a popular local sect of Buddhism and Brahmanism – to Malai district. Several dirt roads have also been closed in the town.

Nhim Phoeung, head of the Poipet town administration, told The Post on Tuesday that water flowing from the Ou’Khaidorn Dam submerged a stretch of National Road 5 in more than a metre of water. Motorbikes could not use the road and 8,800 people were evacuated to higher ground.

In response to problems caused by the floods, Poipet town authorities used the entirety of its forces to help rescue victims and take them to higher ground. They also gave victims first aid, food, medicine and other materials.

According to a Tuesday morning forecast by the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, heavy rain will continue to fall until October 27, especially in north-eastern Cambodia. Mekong River water levels are expected to rise steadily.

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