Tbong Khmum Residents Evacuated as Mekong Floods Moves South

Hundreds of riverside families in Tbong Khmum province were on Monday evacuated away from the flooding Mekong River, even as the provinces hit hardest by tropical storm ‘Sonca’ last week returned to normalcy and evacuees shuffled back to their homes.

“We are now worried about the people living along the Mekong River because they will be flooded if the rain keeps falling in the upper part” of the river, said Nhim Vanda, first vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management.

More than 300 families living in Tbong Khmum’s riverside districts of Tbong Khmum and Kroch Chhmar were evacuated to a safe hillside on Monday in response to increased spillover from the Mekong since Saturday, provincial governor Ly Leng said.

“The water has risen in the last three days, and today we reached a high level,” he said, adding that more than 1,000 homes were engulfed in water.

Armed forces are prepared to help additional endangered residents to safety if flooding continues to spread, he said.

National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman Keo Vy said officials had not yet had the opportunity to measure water levels in the area.

The storm had previously torn through Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Kompong Thom and Kampot provinces, causing at least three deaths.

But about 350 of about 410 families previously evacuated in Preah Vihear have now returned home, Mr. Vy said. The estimated damages in Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey provinces alone are estimated to have reached more than $1 million, he added.

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