The Cambodian Red Cross declared a state of emergency in Kampot province on Wednesday, as torrential rains and flash floods resulted in two reported drownings, stranded families and collapsed bridges.
Meanwhile, a section of National Road 4, the main road between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, remained closed Wednesday because of flooding, officials reported.
In Kampot, Dr Uy Sam Ath, the Red Cross’ director of disaster management, said boats were being used to bring families—many of them stranded on house tops—to safety. Access to potable water was becoming a concern.
“The most vulnerable people are now the children,” he said.
Kampot Provincial Governor Ly Sour said two children had been reported drowned in the flash floods, but further details weren’t immediately available.
“The whole town is flooded, except for a small roundabout in the center of town where people can sell food,” he said. “The evacuees have been asked to move to higher ground or stay with their relatives whose houses are not flooded.”
Kampot resident Chhay San told The Associated Press that nobody could stay at the ground-floor level anymore. “Because of the flooding, all kinds of poisonous insects, and even snakes, are moving to higher ground. It’s scary,” he said.
The water was about 1.5 meters deep at its highest point, officials said.
Ly Sour said National Road 3 from Kampot to Phnom Penh was flooded to a depth of one meter for about a 50-km stretch in Chhuk district. Two bridges collapsed due to flood waters.
The heavy rains showed no signs of relenting, Ly Sour said late Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, on National Road 4, flooding forced shipping and bus companies to suspend service between Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh.
“So far, they are still having heavy rains, and so I can have no idea at all when the road will be passable,” said Frederick Gervais of SDV Shipping in Phnom Penh, which normally sends four or five trucks to Sihanoukville every day.
Teo Siew Chong, manager of Phnom Penh Ho Wah Genting Transport Co Ltd, said his company canceled its afternoon trips to Sihanoukville on Tuesday and all four trips Wednesday.
The flooding of Route 4 consists of two stretches of about 30 meters that are separated by a 2- to 3-km dry patch, Teo Siew Chong said. He said small boats were in place to ferry passengers, but currents are strong and crossing is not advised.
Kompong Speu Deputy Military Police Chief Men Sivorn said military police were called to save a bridge that was in danger of being washed out.
Uy Sam Ath said the National Committee for Disaster Management would meet to discuss the flooding at 8:30 am today.