Floodwaters inundated the homes of more than 1,300 families in Kompong Speu province when an earthen dam holding back a reservoir broke open on Sunday night, though only a few households were being advised to leave, officials said.
Provincial governor Vey Samnang said the Svay Dam in Kong Pisei district broke at about midnight, flooding 1,367 homes, two schools and a commune police station, compounding two weeks of heavy rains that had already flooded several villages in other districts.
“It’s the most severe flooding we have had in 16 years,” he said. “There were 20 to 30 families that were instructed to find a safe place.”
The governor said about 200 military police officers helped sandbag properties below the dam the day before in anticipation that it might break, helping mitigate the damage.
Kong Pisei district governor Ma Savath said the dam was built by the Ministry of Agriculture four or five years ago and that it probably broke because of three consecutive days of heavy rain.
He said the ministry had already brought in equipment to start repairs.
Mr. Samnang said the downpour also caused the Prek Thnout River to overflow its banks on Monday morning, though the fallout was minimal.
“There are no villages there, only rice fields,” he said.
River water also flowed across a narrow stretch of Kandal province and into Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district, where it overwhelmed the Chamkar Khsach pagoda. First deputy chief monk Yen Rotanaksotheavy said the water was almost up to his chin in some places.
“The pagoda is under water,” he said. “The dining hall is under water and some rice fields are flooded.”