Large sections of National Road 3 in Kampot province and Route 4 to Preah Sihanouk province were blocked yesterday by floodwater while thousands of Kampot town residents have been severely affected by flooding since Sunday night, officials said.
National Road 4 flooded in at least three places and the water stood at about 1.5 meters deep, said Soum Kosal, deputy governor of Koh Kong province’s Kompong Seila district. He added that traffic had backed up on the sides of the road since yesterday morning when the road was cut.
“There are too many vehicles stuck on both sides [of the road]. They are uncountable,” he said.
More than 200 families in the district’s Stung Chhang commune were forced to leave their homes because of flooding in the area, he added.
In Kampot province, about 90 percent of the provincial town was flooded since midnight Sunday after several days of heavy rain, said Neak Sovannary, the governor of Kampot town.
In some parts of the town the water was up to one meter deep, he said, with an estimated 4,983 families affected by the flooding which had also caused a town-wide power outage.
A 15-kilometer stretch of National Road 3 was flooded and the governor advised people who want to travel to Kampot to take National Road 33 instead, which cuts southeast to the province’s Kompong Trach district and then enters Kampot town through Kep municipality.
“The flooding is as serious as the flood in 1999 to 2000,” he said.
Se Dang, Toek Chhou district’s deputy governor, said 10 out of 16 villages in the district were affected by flooding and water in some places stood at 2.5 meters.
“Some houses were flooded to the middle and some houses we cannot see the roof,” he said.
Two young people drowned in Preah Sihanouk on Sunday and two are still missing and presumed dead after they were dragged out to sea after strong winds brought dangerous currents and waves measuring 3 meters at Ochheuteal beach.
Mann Tour, Sihanoukville town police chief, said the dead and missing were all aged between 13 and 17 and were playing in the water when they got into difficulty. One of the group was rescued from the sea and is recovering in hospital. Provincial authorities have issued a warning to the public and to tourists in the area to be extra careful when walking on the beach or swimming.
“It was a big wave and even I was scared when I stood near the sea,” he said of the conditions.
The Ministry of Water Resources warned the public last week that several storms were predicted to pass over Cambodia causing lightning storms and heavy rainfall in mountainous and coastal regions.
Seth Vannareth, director for the ministry’s Meteorology Department, said yesterday that Cambodia is still affected by the strong southwestern monsoon and a low trough, which is predicted to last until Friday.
“This year the people should be careful, it is not only at the coastal provinces but the plateau and mountain areas should be careful. The rain can cause severe floods that flow down the mountain,” she said.