Flooded Russei Keo Infested With Insects, Snakes

Sy Makara, 28, and his brother, Sy Vicheka, 25, have a new fishing hole in their home village of Kroul Kor, Russei Keo district. Grounds of the Tuol Santevorn pagoda are so flooded, they said, that they’ve been able to catch fish in between the stupas every day for the past month.

A few meters from where the Sy brothers cast their fishing lines, several dead dogs floated in the stagnant water.

Knee-high flooding has plagued much of Phnom Penh’s low-lying Rus­sei Keo district for the past two months. According to local residents and officials, floodwaters subsided in the district last week, only to rise again after more heavy rain.

“The flood goes up and down every day about 10 centimeters,” Chraing Chamrek II commune chief Yuol Eang said. “It subsides in the daytime and floods again at night.”

The flood has seriously affected more than 700 families, Yuol Eang said, and his commune’s single pump­ing station has not been up to the job of clearing the waters.

“If we had another pumping station, it would flow in time,” he said.

Parts of Russei Keo have become a filthy Venice, as many villagers have resorted to using small boats to get around. Many complain that the water is causing skin rashes.

Yem Hong, 12, said that because his school, Boeng Chhouk Pri­mary, is submerged in water, he hasn’t at­tended class in a month. “I was hap­py when the water subsided, but then it went back up,” he said.

Iv Mom, 38, said her house in Kilometer Six commune has been infested with insects and snakes since the flooding began.

“I am afraid the snakes will bite my children,” she said. “I would like the government to help us solve this problem soon because right now we are having a difficult time living and doing business. I just want my children to attend school.”

Deputy Municipal Governor Mann Chhoeun said Sunday that City Hall plans to add water pumps in the afflicted area but declined to comment further.

The flood may get worse before it gets better. According to reports, Tropical Storm Maysak, now circling in the South China Sea, is headed in the direction of Vietnam.

According to Sith Vannarith, dir­ec­tor of the meteorology department at the Ministry of Water Re­sour­ces, the storm is likely to land in Vietnam on Nov 11 and 12. While the storm is not expected to hit Cam­bodia directly, she said, Cam­bodians should expect heavy rain Tuesday and Wednesday—the first two days of Cambodia’s annual Water Festival.

“We expect it mostly to affect coastal areas,” she said, adding that Phnom Penh may experience flooding for “maybe a few hours.”

She declined to speculate as to whether the storm would worsen the situation in Russei Keo.

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