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Officials struggling to fix dam as floods continue

A woman makes her way through the flooded grounds of a pagoda earlier this week in Phnom Penh’s Spean Thma commune.
A woman makes her way through the flooded grounds of a pagoda earlier this week in Phnom Penh’s Spean Thma commune. Pha Lina

Officials struggling to fix dam as floods continue

The homes of 230 families in Phnom Penh’s southwest have now been evacuated due to flooding, an official said yesterday, as authorities worked to stem flooding caused by a leak in the Prek Thnout dam that threatens to send yet more water into the capital.

A collapsed section of wall in the Dangkor district dam has been sending water into the capital since the upstream Svay Dam in Kampong Speu was damaged on Saturday, putting pressure on it. Flood waters have already inundated parts of Dangkor district.

District Governor Nut Puthdara said the waters have so far flooded 569 houses in Dangkor, causing some families to be evacuated until the waters recede. “Up to Monday afternoon, 230 families were evacuated to live temporarily in the safe hills after their houses were flooded,” Puthdara said, adding that officials were surveying the extent of the damage in order to work out what flood relief to distribute.

Water Resources Minister Lem Keanhor said local authorities and villagers living near the Prek Thnout dam also continued yesterday to try to stem the flow of the water using sandbags and other debris, while officials from the ministry worked to repair the leak.

Further southwest, Hong Chansokha, director of Kampong Speu’s provincial department of works and transportation, said people should now avoid travelling on National Road 3, which is flooded, and instead use the nearby National Road 4. On Sunday, he had said those wishing to travel along National Road 4 should instead use National Road 3.

“We want people owning heavy trucks to use National Road 4 instead to avoid worse damage,” he said. “National Road 4 has returned to normal already.”

Kampong Speu Governor Vi Samnang said the waters were now starting to recede, and that damage to dams in Kong Pisei, Oral and Samrong Tong districts had been repaired to preserve water.

“Now the water has receded after it flowed to the lower areas, such as Kandal province, Phnom Penh and Takeo province,” he said. “Our team is filling in the damage to the dams with soil to keep the water, since we might be lacking it in the dry season.”

National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman Keo Vy said that since September 29, more than 10,000 hectares of rice paddies across eight provinces nationwide had been flooded, with about 3,000 hectares completely destroyed.

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