Death Toll Rises Even as Floodwaters Recede

As floodwaters begin to recede, the extent of the humanitarian crisis and infrastructural damage is slowly being revealed, and in many places the situation is potentially worse than it was following the de­vastating floods in 2011, according to the National Com­mit­tee for Dis­as­ter Management (NCDM).

Keo Vy, cabinet director of the NCDM, said on Wednesday that 139 people are now confirmed dead from the flooding, while the number of those affected by the floods continues to rise.

According to a new report, which was prepared by organizations engaged in the nationwide flood re­sponse, 17 provinces have been hit by flooding since the third week of September, affecting more than 377,000 households and resulting in the evacuation of more than 26,000 families—or about 120,000 people.

However, the second wave of flooding about two weeks ago in northwestern provinces including Ban­teay Meanchey, Battambang and Siem Reap—where most districts experienced flooding and dams and reservoirs overflowed—­caused the most damage, with the extent of the floods greater than seen in 2011.

“[Banteay Meanchey] has been the worst affected province [of the three mentioned above]…. The extent of the flooding has been wider than in previous years to a point where even some safe areas and evacuation sites have been flooded,” the report says.

In Battambang, the report puts the number of families affected at al­most triple the number of any oth­­er province—150,000 compared to 52,000 in Banteay Mean­chey, though it points out that the term “affected” is used to collect data and is intended to give indicative figures reflecting the impact of the floods while the magnitude of that im­pact will vary across prov­inces.

While Kompong Cham prov­ince registered 29,000 families af­fected so far, it has recorded significantly higher casualties than the other provinces with 29 deaths.

The threat of more heavy rain and limitations in the “estimations could be significantly revised…[and] specific figures on the number of families currently remaining in safety areas and evacuation sites are not yet available…[while] the situation varies daily in each province,” the report says.

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