Hundreds Evacuated in Northwest Amid Further Flooding

Hundreds of families were evacuated from their homes in Pailin province over the weekend as tropical storm Vamco brought torrential rain to the country’s northwest after causing serious flooding in Kampot and Battambang provinces last week, officials said Sunday.

Keo Vy, cabinet chief at the National Committee for Disaster Management, said that in the past week, eight provinces had been affected by heavy rains, with Pailin and Battambang bearing the brunt of the storm’s impact.

“In Pailin, we evacuated 407 families—or 1,655 people—from their homes since Saturday and the government has supplied 7 tons of rice to those people,” Mr. Vy said.

Kong Duong, director of the provincial information department, blamed the flooding on water flowing from Thailand to the west, which was also experiencing heavy rains.

“I think that if there was no big water flowing from Thailand, maybe there wouldn’t have been big flooding in our province,” Mr. Duong said, adding that provincial authorities and the Cambodian Red Cross were supplying food and clean water to families that had been evacuated to higher ground.

In Battambang province, 757 houses have been flooded, mostly in Kamrieng and Bavel districts, and 9,839 hectares of cassava damaged, according to Mr. Vy.

Battambang provincial governor Chan Sophal said that about 300 families had been evacuated in his province and that authorities had temporarily closed two international checkpoints on the Thai border due to standing water more than a meter high.

“Because of the flooding, we ordered the temporary closure of both international checkpoints,” he said, adding that both were reopened at about 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Mr. Sophal also said that an 83-year-old woman drowned in floodwater in Sangke district’s O’Dambang I commune on Friday.

“She died after she was hit by a sudden surge of water while she went outside to find morning glory near her house,” he said.

Mr. Vy said that despite the destructive path of Vamco along the Thai border, floodwaters had mostly subsided in the coastal provinces of Kep, Kampot, Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong. Mr. Vy said it was not yet possible to estimate the total cost of damage caused by the storm, which also affected Pursat and Banteay Meanchey provinces.

“In Kampot province, 4,381 houses have been flooded, 21,620 people affected by flooding and 2,291 hectares of rice fields damaged,” he said. “Authorities have donated food and drinking water to 349 families.”

Soeng Soy, 70, a farmer in Battambang’s Kamrieng district, said that 7 of his 12 hectares of cassava had been destroyed by the flooding over the past three days.

“At my house the floodwater is up to my hip and on my cassava plantation the floodwater is about 2 meters high,” he said.

“My hope is gone. What can I do next?” he said.

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