Death Toll Rises to 49 as Floodwaters Recede

As floodwaters fall in the northeastern pro­vinces, the death toll across the country has reached 49, officials said Sunday.

The latest deaths included four teen-agers in Kompong Cham province and three children in Takeo.

Nhim Vanda, first deputy director of the National Committee on Disaster Management, said about 170,000 people have been forced out of their homes, while 110,000 face food shortages.

Loy Sophat, governor of Kratie province, said Sunday that two bridges along National Route 7 had washed away, along with some stretches of the road. Repairs will take at least a month.

A temporary bridge is up on Route 6 in Kompong Cham province where a bridge washed out last week. No large loads are allowed on the temporary bridge.

Neil Hawkins, country director for CARE Cambodia, said while some areas have been hit hard, the situation overall “is not as bad as last year. There is cause for concern, but not alarm.”

Hawkins said unless conditions grow markedly worse, the international aid community in Cam­bodia, along with the Cambodian Red Cross, will be able to handle demands for assistance.

Hawkins said aid officials are more worried about hunger in pockets of drought where the rice crop is threatened.

He said the Mesang district of Prey Veng, the Romeas Hek district of Svay Rieng, and an area along the borders of Pursat and Battambang provinces may lose crops if they don’t get rain soon.

The Cambodian Red Cross has appealed for food and money for flood and drought victims.

As of last week, Red Cross officials had provided aid to 768 families in Stung Treng, 260 families in Kompong Cham and 488 families in Kandal provinces.

The next distribution is plan­ned for some 2,000 families in the Khsach Kandal district of Kandal province and Peam Reang district in Prey Veng province.

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