Flooding in Municipal Building May Cause Permanent Damage

Municipal buildings recently relocated to Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district have been experiencing extreme flooding during the past two weeks, officials said Tuesday.

Rainwater has created standing pools 20 cm deep at the Municipal Department of Public Works and Transport, said Peou Maly, the department’s deputy director of transport.

The area is flooded because the Mekong River water levels remain high, so flood water has had no place to go, he said.

Nearby, floodwater is shin-deep all around the new offices of the municipal traffic police, Phnom Penh traffic police chief Tin Prasoer said.

“I sent a report to high-up officials already and am waiting for a solution. But I am in a difficult situation because the floodwater is causing itching,” Tin Prasoer said.

Flooding has also severely affected the Royal University of Fine Art’s campus in the district.

El Narin, deputy bureau chief for the traffic office, said that this is the first year that their offices have flooded since the traffic police moved into the new police compound in 2006.

El Narin said he is concerned about a possible building collapse as a result of the flooding, because cracks are starting to form at the base of the building.

“I am so worried about the foundation of the department’s building because it is not strong, so I’m afraid of a collapse,” he said.

Russei Keo District Governor Klaing Huot said Tuesday that he had predicted that his jurisdiction would be flooded at this time of year, but he could do nothing to prevent it. Pumps to drain water into Kob Srov lake haven’t been built yet, he said, because the cost is upwards of $10 million.

Klaing Huot said he hopes that the flooding will subside within a month once water levels in the Me­kong drop.

“Whenever the water level of the Mekong River goes down, I can open the doors to the water drain­age system,” he said. “Now, I can’t do that because the water level in the river is higher than on land.”

Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema said Tuesday that he was too busy to speak with a reporter.


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