Rain, Floods Caused $70M in Damage, Official Says

Storms that drenched 13 provinces over the past 10 days caused an estimated $70 million in damages, destroyed thousands of hectares of rice paddy and killed at least eight people, officials said yesterday.

“The first [cost] estimate may be almost half of last year’s destruction caused by [Typhoon] Ketsana, which was $131 million,” Nhim Vanda, vice chairman for the National Committee for Disaster Management, said last night.

He added that the $70 million would go toward rebuilding roads, irrigation systems, bridges and villagers’ homes.

“The most affected areas are Pursat province, Phnom Penh municipality and Banteay Meanchey province,” Mr Vanda said.

He estimated about 10,000 hectares of rice paddy fields across the country were also destroyed.

Deaths attributed to recent storms climbed to eight after a 5-year-old Preah Sihanouk boy was confirmed drowned at sea during heavy winds on Saturday, said Stung Hav district governor Ban Sarun.

While flooding in most provinces continued to subside yesterday, officials in Banteay Meanchey province said waters from Northeast Thailand and Oddar Meanchey province were pushing the Khmer Rouge-built Trapaing Thmar dam to capacity.

“The water level at Trapaing Thmar has almost reached the dam’s bank,” Banteay Meanchey provincial governor Ong Oeun said yesterday. “I have deployed my officials to prepare sandbags atop the dam to prevent the overflow of water. The dam is not damaged yet.”

The inflow of water forced the dam’s sluice gates to open yesterday and Monday, flooding three villages and an undetermined number of hectares of rice paddies below.

Mr Oeun added that large trucks are now able to use National Road 5, which was closed due to flooding earlier this week.

Bun Thara, Poy Char commune chief, said rising waters in one of three canals below the 10-km long Trapaing Thmar dam had flooded three villages, but no villagers were threatened. He added that about 1,500 meters of the canal had flooded.

Chan Yutha, spokesman and Cabinet chief for the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said officials are also keeping an eye on Typhoon Megi, which swept through the Philippines on Monday, killing at least 10, and headed northwest toward China yesterday.

 

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