Authorities, NGOs Brace for Floods

Provincial authorities and humanitarian NGOs are preparing for severe flooding in Kompong Thom province as floodwaters flow south from inundated Preah Vihear province along the Stung Sen River.

Hundreds of families have been displaced in Preah Vihear province and in Banteay Meanchey province seven people were killed as heavy rains lashed the northwest of the country over the past two weeks.

Leng Vireak, senior manager for disaster response at NGO World Vision, said that the situation was stable in Banteay Meanchey and Preah Vihear provinces as rain eased and water levels dropped but that residents in four Kompong Thom districts have been put on notice.

“Our early warning system has alerted residents along the river in Prasat Sambor, Sandan, Stong and Prasat Balaing districts to prepare for severe flooding,” he said.

“Two safety areas have been set up, but we won’t force them to evacuate. The people living on the banks of the Stung Sen River in Kompong Thom are experienced and have the capacity to know when they need to take action and move to safer ground.”

Kompong Thom provincial governor Uch Sam On said that preparations were being made for the rising waters, which caused a state of emergency to be declared in Preah Vihear on Sunday.

“The water is pouring in from Preah Vihear province so we have about 200 military men and some boats preparing for the event of severe flooding,” he said. “We will announce a state of emergency when the river reaches 13.6 meters.”

As of yesterday morning, the water level in the Stung Sen River in Kompong Thom province was at 13.01 meters. On the same day last year, the level was 9.01 meters, according to Hak Puthy, prov­incial deputy director of water re­sources and meteorology.

Nhim Vanda, first vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said yesterday that the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) was prepared to assist flood victims.

“[WFP country director] Gian Pietro Bordignon has promised, together with the Cambodian government, to provide food and transportation should the problems become serious,” Mr. Vanda said.

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