Waterlogged Russei Keo Families Waiting for Aid

Doung Horn, 43, his wife Seng Sokim, 44, and their two sons say they are one of only three families still living in their neighborhood in Russei Keo district’s Svay Pak commune.

Most of their neighbors fled when chest-high floodwater inundated the Phnom Penh commune about a month ago, Seng Sokim said at her home Monday. She said they cannot afford to leave because her husband, a construction worker, has not been able to find work.

“I don’t know when the floods will subside, but I hope they will subside soon in order to find a job,” she said, adding that they have to travel by boat, which is expensive.

Svay Pak is just one of several communes in a low-lying Russei Keo district beset with severe flooding for the past two months. Flood­waters briefly subsided last week, only to rise again because of continued heavy rain, according to residents and local officials.

Rain and the filling-in of Boeng Kak lake have contributed to flooding in Svay Pak, said deputy commune chief Ouk Vuthy. It is difficult for floodwater to drain from his commune because lowlands comprise nearly 80 percent of the land, he added.

“I have no solution because the power belongs to the commune chief,” Ouk Vuthy said Monday by phone. Commune chief Huor Samorn hung up when called for comment Monday.

Russei Keo Deputy District Governor Kaum Sles said he still does not know when aid will be available for those who live in the district’s most affected communes.

“I cannot say when we will provide the aid to victims because we are still gathering data,” he said Monday by phone, adding it might take one more week to collect data about the number of families affected and the degree of road damage in all 12 communes in his district.

“I told the commune chiefs to hurry up with the data,” he said.

Kaum Sles said Phnom Penh municipal officials pledged to help flooding victims over a week ago.

Chraing Chamreh I commune chief Him Yeth said he informed the district governor a week ago about the 204 flood victims in his com­mune, but he has not yet re­ceived any assistance.

“Now, I am waiting for the results for help,” he said by telephone Monday.

The Royal University of Fine Arts campus in Russei Keo’s Phnom Penh Thmei commune remains flooded with calf-high water. Classes, which were supposed to begin Oct 1, will not resume for another week, the university’s director Po Teang said Monday. He added that he does not know the extent of the damage to the buildings because the flooding has not yet subsided.

“Flooding caused the class [to] de­lay, but it [does] not affect study [much] because normally we have the full lesson after the Water Festival,” he said.

Po Teang noted that student num­bers at RUFA have dropped 10 to 15 percent because of flooding compared with enrollment at the school’s previous location near the Old Stadium. The university’s north campus relocated to its current site in 2005 as part of a controversial land swap involving the Mong Reththy Group.

Tann Monivann, deputy director of the Mong Reththy Group, said the company would pay for damage done to the school’s buildings.

“I will rebuild for the damage, which was caused by flooding and errors in building technique,” he said by telephone Monday.

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.