Minister Says Floods Affect 90,303 Families

Flooding has affected 90,303 families and flooded 83,007 houses nationwide, while 13,402 families have been evacuated so far from inundated areas, Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said Monday.

Citing data from the National Committee for Disaster Manage­ment, Mr Kanharith also said in a posting to his Facebook site that the floods had damaged 238 houses.

Officials at the National Com­mittee for Disaster Manage­ment, however, said they were still compiling data on the impact of the flood and could not corroborate the minister’s figures.

“The authorities and [National Committee for Disaster Manage­ment] are now making a report looking at the impact of flooding,” said Keo Vy, deputy director of the committee’s information department.

The official death toll as of Mon­day stood at 97 and was not updated yesterday.

In Kompong Thom province, two more deaths on Monday night brought the death toll there to 20, said Uy Sam Ath, director of disaster management at the Cam­bodian Red Cross.

“We are cooperating with the government to assist people who have been evacuated,” Mr Sam Ath said, noting that rescue supplies would reach 2,779 families there and 1,972 others in Prey Veng province later this week.

More than 8,000 families have been displaced in Kompong Thom province alone, Cambo­dian Red Cross spokeswoman Men Neary Sopheak said.

“Now, the government has de­cided to provide people in Kom­pong Thom with 300 metric tons of rice,” she said, adding that distribution of supplies would start today.

She also said 10 other provin­ces would also be given between 100 to 300 metric tons of rice each, while the Red Cross would hand out canned fish, instant noodles, scarves, sarongs, blankets and mosquito nets.

Provincial governor Chhun Chhorn said that flooding was slowly improving in Kompong Thom.

Floods in Prey Veng province have killed 30 people and affected an estimated 5,000 families, said Tim Phan, provincial police chief.

“Over 20,000 hectares of paddy fields are inundated,” he said.

In Siem Reap, which has experienced severe flooding for weeks, deputy provincial gover­nor Kim Chhai Hieng said flooding was slowly beginning to subside and that authorities have evacuated more than 1,250 families.

Though authorities originally predicted that Tropical Storm Hai­tang, which is currently moving from Vietnam to Laos, would cause more flooding along the Me­kong River in Cambodia, Chan Youtha, spokesman for the Mini­stry of Water Resources and Me­teoro­logy, said this was no longer the case, as the storm had lost power.

Water levels in the Mekong River are declining upstream but are due to rise downstream and in the Tonle Bassac river, the mini­stry forecast in an update yesterday.

In Kompong Cham province, Save the Children has handed out more than 300 kits, including tents and food, said Sen Jeunsafy, information and communications team leader at the charity.

But “the immediate response seems not to be everywhere. [Flooding] affects many provinces and affects many, many people,” she said. “So the response capacity is still a challenge.”

Many people have sought re­fuge in pagodas and schools, she added. “It is Pchum Ben, so some families receive food from monks and people living nearby.”

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