Floods Send 15,000 From Their Homes

Almost 3,800 families in Pursat province are facing a food shortage and 15,000 people have been evacuated following last week’s heavy rains and flooding, according to state-run TVK.

The station also reported Mon­day that National Route 5 has been closed temporarily because of serious damage in at least four sections.

Approximately 6,500 hectares of rice fields in Pursat province are under water. Thirty schools have been closed and 45 houses have been destroyed, local authorities said.

Pursat appeared to be the worst hit. But according to initial surveys by the Cambodian Red Cross and CARE International from just two out of six affected provinces, more than 45,000 people have been forced out of their homes by the rains last week, Agence France-Presse reported over the weekend.

While there have been no reports of casualties, aid workers said they feared more than 100,000 could be homeless and face the risk of disease due to con­tamination of drinking water supplies and exposure.

Flooding also has threatened more than 10,000 hectares of rice plants in Takeo province and rising waters have forced the closure to trucks of one major bridge on National Route 3, Takeo province second deputy governor Lay Sokha said Sun­day.

Though the rain has stopped, the rice fields remain submerged and it is unknown how many, if any, of the rice plants can be saved Lay Sokha said.

Rains also flooded parts of Phnom Penh, making travel difficult and temporarily closing 14 schools, au­thorities said. Water was still deep Monday in some residential areas.

On Sunday, King Norodom Sihanouk said on National Radio he intended to give aid to about 400 flood victims in Kandal province. “I would like to apologize that I am unable to help you all more….We have to select the most suffering people,” the King said.

(Reporting by Lor Chandara and Ham Samnang)

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