B Meanchey Declares Emergency; Man Drowns as Pursat Sees More Flooding

Floods and rising rivers forced hundreds of families from their homes in Pursat and Banteay Meanchey provinces and Phnom Penh on Friday, while an emergency was declared near Poipet city and a man drowned in Pursat, officials said.

Flooding spread in Takeo province as well, and Phnom Penh municipality issued a warning advising residents near Prek Tnaut river in Dangkao district to be cautious of rising waters.

The K5 dam near the Cambodia-Thai border in Banteay Meanchey province reached capacity Friday morning, officials said, forcing them to declare a state of emergency as water poured over the dam’s lip, flooding about 1,000 homes in the area below. Poipet city governor Try Narin said dam operators couldn’t increase the dam’s outflow because the force of the water would have been too strong.

“We declared an emergency through TV and radio to inform people to be careful and move to a safe place,” Mr Narin said yesterday.

Mr Narin said floodwaters reached two meters in many areas, but nearly swallowed entire homes in others, with just the roofs of the houses breaching the water’s surface

In Pursat province, where a man drowned Friday morning while trying to swim across a canal in Kandieng district, dozens of families were evacuated as the Pursat river rose again late Thursday and early Friday, said Oy Sam Ath, director of the Cambodian Red Cross’ Disaster Management Department. He added that some families were moved to Red Cross-provided shelters, while others took refuge in a local pagoda or stayed with relatives.

Friday’s drowning brought the total number of deaths attributed to flooding to four.

Vann Heang, provincial director of the Cambodian Red Cross’ Pursat branch, said 14 families in Pursat city were evacuated, along with 35 families in Phnom Kravanh district and 30 families in Kandieng district. He said the Cambodian Red Cross provided the displaced families from Pursat city and Kandieng district with tents and about $2.50 and 20 kg of rice apiece. The families from Phnom Kravanh district should receive provisions on Saturday, he added.

Mr Heang did not know when the evacuated families would return home.

“They will stay here longer because their houses are still flooded at a high level,” he said.

The Pursat river rose 0.3 meters at Kravanh station late Thursday and early Friday hitting emergency levels after a brief respite early Thursday, said Pursat provincial governor Khoy Sokha. He added that runoff from rain on Kravanh mountain caused the river to rise.

For the third straight day, flooding continued to spread in Takeo’s Bati district, where water flowing from Kompong Speu and Kandal provinces has flooded six communes, swamped National Road 2 and left 2,300 hectares of rice under water, said Bati district governor Lam Veasna.

In Phnom Penh, municipal governor Kep Chuktema warned on Thursday that Prek Tnaut river was rising to near-emergency levels. Flooding, he said, could affect communes in Dangkao district. About 100 families were forced from their homes on Thursday from flooding in Prey Sar commune.

In Kandal province, 2,372 hectares of rice fields have been flooded throughout this week.


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