Floodw Waters Still Recede as Rain Slackens

Flood waters continue to re­cede in the northern region of the Mekong River basin, and rain has slackened in Laos and northeastern Cambodia, according to the National Committee on Dis­aster Management.

The committee’s report, prepared for Prime Minister Hun Sen, concludes that as of Tues­day, the country had suffered nearly $6 million in flood damages across seven provinces.

The report said that at least eight people were killed; 21,766 families (58,609 people) were affected, along with about 5,000 hectares of rice and other crops; and about 2,800 houses flooded, with 45 completely destroyed.

Hardest hit was Kratie prov­ince, where 42,594 people were affected. Nearly 27,000 had to be evacuated, and an estimated 2,700 houses were flooded. In Koh Kong province, 63 oxen and 58 pigs died.

The flood level at Kratie Wednes­day morning was 20.62 meters, down 0.21 meters over the preceding 24 hours. At Chakto­mouk, the flood level had dipped 0.02 meters to 9.93 meters in the same time period. The flood level for Phnom Penh is approximately 11.75 meters.

Disaster relief officials said so far, the government has provided 60 metric tons of rice, 1,200 me­ters of plastic sheeting and 8,000 liters of fuel to three prov­inces: Kratie, Stung Treng and Kom­pong Cham provinces.

The committee is asking international agencies and NGOs to provide further supplies, including 5,000 cases of food; 1,000 cases of preserved fish; 10,000 relief kits; 5,000 tent sheets; and  100,000 sandbags and medicine for malaria, fever and diarrhea.

Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara, after hearing reports that some rice sellers were stocking up now in order to sell at in­flated prices if there was a flood in the city, has set aside several tons of rice to sell at the regular marker price. “I will make sure the [rice] price is stable,” he said.

Pen Sonh, a 35-year-old farmer from Don Penh district, wasn’t taking any chances.

He and his wife bought 100 kg of rice from the market. “I watch TV every day about the water level,” he said. “I still worry about it.”

Water Resource Minister Lim Kean Hour said that five storms have so far produced the highest July river levels in several dec­ades and meteorologists are predicting another 22 major rain storms this rainy season.

At least 20 people have been killed by the flooding in neighboring Vietnam.

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