Pursat River Rises, Province Declares Emergency

The effects of this weeks torrential rains continued to be felt across the country yesterday, with Pursat provincial officials declaring an emergency and aid agencies moving in to help displaced families in Siem Reap province.

Pursat province officials declared an emergency yesterday morning after the Pursat river topped six meters at the Phnom Kravanh station and five meters at the Pursat city station, Cambodian Red Cross provincial manager Vann Heang said.

Mr Heang said his branch was preparing to offer flood relief to affected families. “It is going to be a big flood in Kandieng district because the water is still rising,” he said yesterday afternoon.

As of early evening yesterday, the Pursat river had slightly crested its banks, and preparations were being made to move people out of the area if flooding worsened, Pursat governor Khoy Sokha said.

“We told people to prepare themselves to prevent danger,” Mr Sokha said. “We’ve prepared boats and everything to help people.”

Siem Reap’s Puok district sustained the most flood-related damage in the province since strong wind and rain ravaged the area starting Sunday, according to Puok district governor Pich Sokhaley. He said 34 homes were leveled, while two houses and a school were damaged.

Cambodian Red Cross’ Siem Reap provincial branch supplied 18 displaced families with 20 kg of rice each, as well as blankets and mosquito nets, provincial manager Sum Sam An said yesterday.

Several people were injured when their homes collapsed and at least four were taken to a provincial health center, Mr Sam An added.

Also in Siem Reap province, a 30-year-old man drowned Tuesday morning after slipping into a flooded pond in Puok district’s Yeang commune.

Meanwhile in Takeo province, nearly 50 families from Bati district’s Kraing Thnong and Putsar communes were forced to take refuge in a pagoda Tuesday after floodwaters overwhelmed their homes, Cambodian Red Cross provincial manager Yim Chan Than said yesterday.

“[Today], our branch will go to the pagoda…and see the people there with the provincial governor,” he said.

Bati district governor Lam Veasna said floodwaters stood between 30 and 70 centimeters deep in some places and that motorists were diverted from a flooded National Road 2.

“The vehicles cannot cross National Road 2, except motorbikes,” Mr Veasna said. “They can walk the motorbike or transport…by boat.”

On Tuesday, the five former Khmer Rouge officials indicted by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal were transferred to a different area of the tribunal’s detention facility as a precautionary measure because of flooding in the area, Legal Communications Officer Lars Olsen said yesterday.

Keo Vy, deputy director of the department of information and relations for the National Committee for Disaster Management, said yesterday it was too early to estimate how much monetary damage flooding and rain had caused.

“It is too early to say,” he said. “We will create a committee to survey the damage, but we need time to do it.”


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