Flood Starts to Subside; Water Still Poses Threats

Flooding that has plagued Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district for the past month has finally be­gun to subside, district and commune officials said Nov 2.

The area, which began to flood in early October, grew worse around the middle of the month, according to Chan Samnang, chief of Russei Keo commune, who blamed the prob­­lem on heavy rain and the filling-in of nearby Boeng Kak lake.

To fill the lake, local private developer Shukaku Inc had been draining water from Boeng Kak into Russei Keo’s Tuol Sangke commune where it was meant to drain into the Tonle Sap river.

But because the river was running so high, lake water has instead been spilling into the streets and homes of Russei Keo district, forcing residents to slog through fetid standing water as they go about their daily routine.

“When it has heavy rain and the drainage could not open, it caused flood,” Chan Samnang said by phone Nov 2, adding that the floodwaters have recently subsided below waist-deep levels because the water drainage system was finally reopened, allowing water to flow into the river.

Phnom Penh Thmei commune counselor Soul Phala said by phone that Municipal Deputy Governor Map Sarin had told her and other local officials that the drainage system would be re­opened Oct 22 and that floodwaters would subside soon after. Map Sarin could not be reached for comment.

“The level of the water seems to sub­side too slow,” Soul Phala said, adding that floodwater levels in her commune have receded by about 10 cm since the drainage system re­opened about 10 days ago.

District Governor Klaing Huot said he expects the floodwaters to fully recede in a week. “It will subside to the normal level about a week—if it doesn’t rain anymore.”

Phnom Penh is not the only city to suffer from long periods of flooding this year.

Siem Reap District Governor Tep Bun Chhay said flooding in portions of Siem Reap town has just begun to subside recently as well, owing to repairs made to the main water drainage system.

“When it rains down too much, it could flood because of the drainage system,” he said.

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