Severe weather belted the country’s coastal and highland provinces with more rain on Thursday, giving way to torrential floods that damaged provincial roads and led government authorities in four provinces to begin evacuations or prepare emergency shelters.
Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Kompong Thom and Kampot provinces have been hit hardest by Sonca, a tropical storm that has left a trail of destruction in its path. A 13-year-old boy and 35-year-old woman who drowned in floodwaters in Preah Vihear on Tuesday were among the first victims.
Provincial authorities say they are mounting their efforts and readying supplies to evacuate residents to safety should water levels continue to rise to dangerous levels.
“The authorities in Kompong Thom province are preparing to evacuate people because the water has risen to nearly reach warning level,” said Keo Vy, spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management.
The Stung Sen River rose to 13.4 meters on Thursday at a site in Kompong Thom, needing only 40 cm more to reach emergency levels, authorities said.
Waters in Preah Vihear, to the north, continued to rise and flow into Kompong Thom, Mr. Vy said. He warned that the flood levels were likely to be breached in the next few days.
The Water Resources Ministry has also issued a warning of strong winds and high waves in coastal areas, though it is forecasting only rain showers for most of the country today.
Oddar Meanchey provincial governor Sar Thavy said he had led military personnel and police officers into inundated areas throughout Trapaing Prasat and Anlong Veng districts on Thursday to inspect flooding and provide assistance.
The governor said water levels at the Tamok bridge usually only reach a depth of 2 meters, but had already risen to 3 meters.
Authorities have issued a flood warning and prepared “safety hills” where evacuees can find shelter along with food and supplies, he said.
The provincial authority “is using its total forces and speed boats to prepare evacuation of the people in case the areas become seriously flooded,” Mr. Thavy said.
In Preah Vihear province, 350 soldiers from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces were deployed on Wednesday to aid relief efforts. Though authorities continue to work against the tide, provincial administration chief Muot Pisethanea said they were prepared to evacuate residents to safety should the rain continue to defy their attempts to buttress the Stung Sen’s riverbanks with sandbags.
Choam Ksan district governor Sear Kimseng said on Thursday that four communes had been flooded on Wednesday.
“The water is now receding for six communes, but two other communes are still seriously flooded and we are evacuating the people to the safety hills,” he said.
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