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Conditions are deteriorating for hundreds of inmates that were forced by flooding to move to the already overcrowded Battambang and Siem Reap prisons from Banteay Meanchey prison, and human rights groups are not sure how long it will be before the prison is operational again, officials said Monday.
As monthlong flooding that has so far left 122 dead slowly subsides, officials and relief agencies were on Sunday concerned that a powerful typhoon approaching Vietnam may bring more heavy rain and the risk of more floods to provinces where tens of thousands of families have already been displaced.
Aid organizations have raised concerns over the deteriorating sanitation and health situation at evacuation sites for flood victims and at prisons, which are now far over capacity after the Banteay Meanchey provincial prison flooded Thursday, requiring the transfer of inmates to other, already crowded, detention centers.
Hundreds of inmates were evacuated from Banteay Meanchey provincial prison Thursday afternoon after floodwaters flattened a 20 meter section of the prison wall and burst into prison grounds, leaving many cells under a meter of water.
Hundreds of families in Battambang province have been evacuated as authorities ordered a section of a dam to be cut away to release pressure on a reservoir that was threatening to burst and engulf the communities beneath it, as heavy rain continues to cause havoc in the country’s western provinces.
Svay Rieng became the latest province to declare emergency water levels as storms continued in the west of the country, prolonging deadly nationwide flooding that has killed at least 83 people and affected tens of thousands of families over the past month, officials said.
The National Committee for Disaster Management on Monday significantly raised the number of people who have died from nationwide flooding from 39 to 83 as rainstorms overfilled dams and flash floods inundated roads and villages in provinces around the Tonle Sap.
Flooding spread over the weekend as storms hit the country meaning Siem Reap, Battambang and Pailin have all been added to the list of provinces affected by high waters.
Hundreds of police and soldiers have been working around the clock since Wednesday to prevent a major dam built during the Khmer Rouge period in Banteay Meanchey province from breaking and flooding as many as eight surrounding villages, officials said Thursday.
From Thursday through Sunday, the city’s only waste-collection company, Cintri, will be operating with a skeleton service that will not be able to clear the city’s garbage as 70 percent of the firm’s employees will take three days of holiday, City Hall said in statement.
A fleet of five speedboats set off from Sisowath Quay on Tuesday afternoon carrying Phnom Penh’s governor, 19 local officials, several bodyguards and a press team, as the municipal authorities’ plan to deal with flooding in several districts of the city switched into first gear.
Two more people died in Kompong Cham province on Monday as a result of flooding that has claimed at least 30 victims since heavy rains spawned by tropical storms over the past two weeks caused the Mekong to break its banks and inundate thousands of communities across 10 provinces, officials said.
Almost 8,000 families have now been evacuated to higher ground since severe flooding across the country began two weeks ago and two more children were confirmed to have drowned over the weekend bringing the nationwide death toll to at least 28, officials said.
Phnom Penh will face flooding in certain areas in the coming days as the level of the Mekong River surpasses emergency level, while heavy rainfall from tropical storm Wutip, which made landfall in Laos from the South China Sea on Friday, prompted the government to release new flood warnings for 11 provinces.
The death toll caused by severe flooding along the Mekong River increased by eight yesterday, bringing the total number of deaths over the past two weeks to more than 20, including 11 children, an official said.
Thousands of families continue to be affected by relentless flooding caused by heavy rains and the opening of dams in neighboring Thailand and Vietnam, causing a surge in the Mekong River in Cambodia that has inundated communities along its banks.
Flooding across the country has now killed seven people, including four children, since water reached emergency levels in some areas on Friday, the National Disaster Management Committee said Monday.
Two children drowned on Saturday in Kratie province as floodwaters that were already at emergency level continued to rise Sunday across three provinces along the Mekong River, officials said.
The Mekong River has reached emergency flood levels in Stung Treng province and the Srepok River in Ratanakkiri province also surpassed emergency levels as other provinces along the Mekong prepared for rising floodwaters over the weekend, officials said Friday.
A 25-year-old man was killed on Tuesday and his 21-year-old brother seriously injured after a fight broke out following a volleyball game in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet City, according to police.