Floods Kill Eight More as Evacuees Face Health Problems

The death toll caused by severe flooding along the Mekong River increased by eight yesterday, bringing the total number of deaths over the past two weeks to more than 20, including 11 children, an official said.

Keo Vy, deputy chief of the information department at the National Committee for Disaster Man­age­ment, said he had no information yet on the latest victims of the flooding, but said that 14 of the total deaths had occurred in Kompong Cham province.

Stung Treng, Kratie, Kompong Thom, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear provinces have also been badly affected over the past two weeks, while Kandal province began to flood on Tuesday.

“At least 20 people have died due to the flooding in the past two weeks bringing the total killed in floods to 33 so far this year, while 4,765 families have been evacuated, 19,133 homes have been flooded and a total of 33,642 families have been affected by the floods,” Mr. Vy said.

Families in Stung Treng City who were evacuated to higher ground because their homes were inundated by floodwater are suffering infections caused by lack of hygiene and clean drinking water, a health official said.

Heng Nhoeu, provincial director of the health department, said medical officials had been sent in to assist the victims.

“There’s not enough water so the people are using unclean water from the river,” she said, adding that chloramine tablets, a water disinfectant, have been distributed to protect them from diarrhea.

“Usually when people have evacuated, they always have a problem with diarrhea so, we sent one to three medical officials to 12 different safety areas around the city and have warned people to be careful when it comes to drinking water and food,” she said.

Kim Sourphirum, Kompong Cham provincial health department director, said that a group of doctors was helping people in safety areas, adding that authorities were worried that diarrhea and flu will spread among the camps.

“There is diarrhea because there are no toilets and they used unclean water so we gave soap to the families to clean themselves before eating food,” he said.

Men Neary Sopheak, spokeswoman for the Red Cross, said the organization doesn’t provide clean drinking water to evacuees, just food and other supplies.

“As usual, we always provide what’s been requested from our branches, so we’ve provided to their needs. Today, we provided food, blankets and mosquito nets for 1,650 affected families,” she said.

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