Flooding Spreads to Svay Rieng; 17 Provinces Now Affected

Svay Rieng became the latest province to declare emergency water levels as storms continued in the west of the country, prolonging deadly nationwide flooding that has killed at least 83 people and affected tens of thousands of families over the past month, officials said.

Keo Vy, cabinet chief for the National Committee for Disaster Management, said a total of 17 provinces had now been affected by floods.

“Battambang, Pailin, Siem Reap and Pursat were hit by the flooding last week and Svay Rieng is the most recent province with serious floods coming this week,” he said.

Svay Rieng’s provincial director of administration, Ros Pharith, said that the Waiko River crept past the 2.90-meter emergency level Tuesday to 2.91 meters, which had caused widespread flooding and inundated hundreds of homes.

“So far, 174 families have been evacuated to elevated safety areas across four districts because of heavy rains and rising floodwater since Monday and authorities are preparing sandbags to protect Svay Rieng City from water flowing into the city,” he said, adding that a 4-year-old boy had drowned in a field in Romeas Hek district’s Tros commune on Friday.

In Battambang province, authorities are continuing to evacuate people and have provided rations of rice and clean water to more than 1,000 families in safety areas, as Battambang City’s roads remain flooded, according to Hong That, an official from Battambang’s department of Economic and Social Affairs.

“Every district in the province has now been affected and authorities have decided it is necessary to open the gates of [the manmade Khmer Rouge-era reservoir] Kamping Puoy Bassin to stem water flowing to the dam. When it is opened, people living under the basin will be affected by more flooding,” he said.

At 2 a.m. Tuesday in Pailin province, where more than 1,000 families have also recently been evacuated, authorities rescued four children as they clung to a tree in the middle of fast-flowing water in Sala Krao district’s Stung Trang commune, said Kong Duong at the provincial department of information.

And in Siem Reap, a team of 200 men plugged a broken highway adjoining an Angkorian moat near Angkor Thom temple that had been pouring water into surrounding villages, said Im Sokrithy, chief of the information department at Apsara Authority, which manages the Angkor Wat temple complex and surrounding dams and reservoirs.

“The water level situation has decreased and Defense Minister Tea Banh came to the site of the road with a team of army, military police and national police officers to help fix the [20-meter] hole—we have it under control,” he said.

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