Flooding Subsides, but Death Toll Rises to 141

The death toll from flooding in 15 provinces increased to 141 on Friday, with 17,273 families displaced, while Banteay Meanchey became the latest pro­vince added to the list of areas seeking relief assistance, authorities said.

The figures by the National Com­mittee for Disaster Manage­ment included data gathered up until Thursday, and show that 173,063 families were affected by the flooding, which is an increase of more than 20,000 over earlier figures.

Prey Veng province is now one of the worst-hit areas, with 39 deaths from flood-related accidents and more than 20,000 hectares of rice paddy destroyed. According to the disaster management committee, 61,473 hectares of rice paddy have been damaged. The figure was lower than an estimate of 72,000 hectares given by Agriculture Minister Chan Sarun on Thursday.

Thirty-two deaths have been recorded in Kompong Cham province, along with the evacuation of 6,085 people to high ground and the collapse of 9 km of riverbank. Reported deaths of livestock total 1,110, with 1,086 of those occurring in Siem Reap province.

Lim Kean Hor, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, said on Friday that the Mekong River, Tonle Sap and Tonle Bassac are not at risk of further flooding, while Chan Youttha, cabinet chief at the ministry, said that flood waters had begun to subside in provinces located along the upper reaches of the Mekong. He added that flooding along the lower Mekong would begin to subside on Saturday.

Prey Veng provincial Governor Ung Samy said that the situation was still bad in his area but he did not foresee further evacuations as water levels were now stable.

Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng is expected to visit Prey Veng on Saturday to help distribute aid to families in need.

“On October 1, we will offer aid to 500 families in Peam Chor district and 500 families in Peamro district,” Mr Samy said.

According to the disaster management figures, 40,615 families have been affected by the flooding in Prey Veng. Mr Samy said they expected to see more damaged rice paddy once the water subsides, and that authorities were preparing milled rice, fuel and rice seedlings to enable families to replant lost crops.

Chhun Sirun, governor of Kandal province, where more than 39,000 families have been affected and four people have died, said that eight of the province’s 11 districts have been hit by flooding.

“Only three districts were not affected, but we did not have to evacuate any families as the water rose slowly,” Mr Sirun said. More than 3,000 hectares of rice paddy have been affected, but Mr Sirun said authorities had not yet estimated the extent of damage to the rice crop.

The district governor of Kroch Chhmar district in Kompong Cham province, Y Sahak, said that although the water had begun to subside, many communes were badly affected by damage to rural roads.

Cambodian Red Cross Deputy Secretary-General Men Neary Sopheak said that needs assessments were still continuing and more information was needed.

“Assessment is going on in every area. This information needs to come in before we can address the transition between emergency response and recovery,” Ms Neary Sopheak said.

“It needs to be looked at province by province. Some can cope better than others, such as Siem Reap. Others, like Kompong Cham, are finding it harder to cope, and we have newly affected areas in Banteay Meanchey and Svay Rieng,” she said.

“We will make a preliminary assessment. But for now it is emergency response. People need to eat at the moment.”



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