Phnom Penh Won’t Flood, Officials Said

Although the rivers are rising fast and early this year, officials said Monday there is no reason to think that Phnom Penh faces imminent flooding.

Water Resources Minister Lim Kean Hour said that flood waters are already receding in stricken provinces along the Me­kong River.

“Now the water has fallen be­low the alarming level,’’ he said. In the past 10 days, flooding has killed at least six people and driven nearly 7,000 people from their homes.

The flood level in Phnom Penh is 10.5 meters; Monday the water had risen to 9.92 meters, Lim Kean Hour said.

Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara said he is not worried. Dikes on the city’s outskirts have been rebuilt and emergency equipment, such as sandbags, is ready.

“Phnom Penh can’t be flooded. Don’t worry,’’ he said, because lakes in the river system that absorb overflow water are not full to capacity.

The flooding upriver was caused by heavy rains throughout the region. Peou Samy, secretary-general of the National Committee for Disaster Manage­ment, said one child drowned in Stung Treng and one in Koh Kong province.

Four others—one adult and three children—died Friday in Kompong Cham province when their boats overturned in Koh Samrong village.

Farther upstream in Kratie, 5,665 families were evacuated and 3,150 hectares of crops flooded, Peou Samy said, while 540 families in Kompong Cham pro­vince are homeless.

Officials said that flooding in six provinces has affected 16,588 families and left 1,680 families homeless. More than 20,000 hec­tares of rice paddies have been flooded.

In 1996, flood waters reached nearly 11 meters in Phnom Penh, flooding the Chbar Am­peou market area east of the Mon­ivong Bridge. More than 20 people died nationwide that Oc­tober, and upwards of 500,000 were affected by flood waters.

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