Nearly 100 hectares of paddy fields were damaged recently by flooding in Nimit commune, Banteay Meanchey province, after a private company built a dam on a nearby river to create a drinking water reservoir for Poipet town, local officials said Sunday, adding the flood water was now subsiding after the dam collapsed last week.
Pal Sitha, commune chief for Nimit commune, which is located in Poipet municipality, said a dam on the Khaydan River had caused the flooding of about 94 hectares of farmland adjacent to the river, after heavy rainfall at the end May.
The villagers had sowed their fields at the start of May, but the flooding, which was receding, had destroyed their seeds, he said.
“I just reported the situation to the Poipet municipal governor to ask for rice seeds for the villagers to replant their fields,” Mr Sitha said said.
Sar Chamrong, deputy governor of Banteay Meanchey province, said he visited the affected area last week, but at that point the dam had collapsed and flood water levels were dropping.
Mr Chamrong said the dam had collapsed because of the pressure of water in the reservoir was too great for the construction. The reservoir dam on the Khaydan River had been constructed early this year by Anco Brothers Company, he said.
Anco Brothers is owned by well-known businessman and CPP Senator Kok An who has a range of businesses, including the exclusive distribution of British American Tobacco products in Cambodia.
Mr Chamrong said provincial officials had received reports about the flooding, adding: “I will request provincial department of agriculture officials to evaluate the damage.”
Nimit commune’s second councilor Mak Narith said the company had also built a dam last year that caused severe flooding, which led angry villagers to destroy the dam.
Senator An could not be reached for comment Sunday.