Kampot, B’bang Still Flooded as Rains Continue

Parts of Kampot City and nearby tourist areas remained underwater Thursday, while flash flooding also hit Battambang province in the northwest as heavy rains continued to lash parts of the country, locals and officials said.

Keo Vy, cabinet chief at the National Committee for Disaster Management, said that five provinces had been inundated by the rains, but that Battambang and Kampot remained the only two with severe flooding.

A vendor stands behind her cart on a flooded street in Kampot City on Thursday. (Nicolas Malinowski)
A vendor stands behind her cart on a flooded street in Kampot City on Thursday. (Nicolas Malinowski)

“There are 3,600 families affected by the flood, and 1,500 hectares of rice fields have been destroyed [in Kampot province]. The water is coming off Bokor Mountain and Stung Keo and also from the dam,” he said.

“In Battambang’s Bavel district, nearly 200 houses have been flooded and we have put the authorities on standby.”

On Wednesday, three communes in Kampot province’s Toek Chhou district went underwater after the sluice gates of the Kamchay Hydropower Dam were opened with little or no notice.

The gates were closed at 5 a.m. Thursday, according to provincial governor Khoy Khun Hour, who defended the management of water levels in the reservoir.

“There is more than one way for flooding to happen. It has spread into two more communes and the city but the water is also coming from Bokor Mountain,” he said, adding that two communes in Toek Chhou—Stung Keo and Trapaing Thom—had been inundated and families forced from their homes.

“As far as I can see, it is because we have the dam that no one has died.”

Further down the river toward Kampot City, a number of riverside guesthouses were inundated, according to Rim Deli, who owns Naga House, a guesthouse popular with backpackers.

Mr. Deli said his property, about 3 km from town, had been spared, but that many were in a panic as the waters began to rise sharply

around 7 a.m., and that on the other side of the river, some guesthouses were now inaccessible.

“Villa Vedici, the road it is more than 1 meter under [water],” he said of the local resort. “Now, no one can get in or out. It’s only boats that can go there now.”

In town, Neil Bullock, who operates Oh Neil’s Irish Bar on the riverside, said that much of that area was underwater, but few businesses had experienced flooding.

“The riverfront is OK. The lower parts are under[water] but no water has come into any places along my block,” he said.

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