Flooding Forces Evacuation of Parts of Preah Vihear Province

Eleven villages along the banks of the Stung Sen River in Preah Vihear City have been evacuated to higher ground after a state of emergency was declared Sunday due to rising water levels, officials said Monday.

About 349 families have been evacuated from two communes after the river rose to 11 meters, the threshold for a state of emergency, according to Chap Koy, director at the Department of Water Resources and Meteorology in Preah Vihear province.

“We declared the rising waters and flood around the Stung Sen River an emergency on Sunday after the water rose to 11 meters,” he said, adding that the water had broken 11.25 meters as of Monday morning.

“Before we declared the emergency, we informed the people that live near the river that they should seek safety on a hill.”

The affected families have been evacuated to higher ground by boat, said Mong Sam An, commune chief in Palhal, one of the worst hit areas.

“Military police and commune police evacuated the villagers to higher ground where there is a camp set up by the Cambodian Red Cross and World Vision,” she said.

“[At the evacuation camp], each family received 10,000 riel [about $2.50] and a box of noodles.”

“At least 40 homes have been flooded. It is much worse than [Au­gust] last year. Last year, these floods didn’t come until September.”

Kok Chhoun, commune chief in Kompong Branak, the other commune where a state of emergency has been declared, said seven villages, comprising some 187 families, had been evacuated from his community between Wednesday and Monday.

“We declared the flooding situation on the Stung Sen [River] an emergency because the water level had risen above 11 meters,” he said.

“We evacuated the villagers that were vulnerable, about 187 families, to [the evacuation camp] where they can stay safely and receive food, water and a place to sleep.”

Poeng Trida, director at the department of agriculture in Preah Vihear province, said that an additional 2,000-plus-hectares of farmland had been inundated by floodwaters and rendered unusable in Choam Ksan and Kulen districts since Friday.

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