Banteay Meanchey, northwest provinces brace for flash floods

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Flood in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district on Monday. INFORMATION MINISTRY

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology issued a warning that Cambodia will be affected by the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, a low-pressure system, from September 22-26 along the Dangrek mountains. Floods have already inundated villages in Banteay Meanchey province.

In a notice on September 21, the ministry said the northwestern provinces would also be affected.

“Based on the current weather situation, the public must remain vigilant to avoid any danger that could arise,” the ministry said.

In recent days, rain has fallen on Banteay Meanchey and, coupled with flood water from Thailand, had flooded areas of the province.

Poipet town authorities said on September 20 that for the past two consecutive days, rain and water from the border stream with Thailand had caused flooding, affecting infrastructure and houses in Phsar Kandal and Poipet communes. At least 40 families have been evacuated to safety.

Nhim Phoeung, head of the Poipet town administration, told The Post that authorities had used machinery to widen canals to improve water flow and drainage to lakes in lower areas. It would also reduce flooding to homes and the main road network in town.

“Our working group has successfully evacuated 40 families living next to the border stream in Phsar Kandal and Poipet communes to safer places. We are continuing to dig and open some roads so water can be released and flow into the streams and canals in the lower areas,” Phoeung said.

According to Phoeung, rain has continued to fall and filled almost all the canals around Poipet town. This is in addition to water from Thailand, though it did not pose a serious risk.

In Mongkol Borei district, governor Roth DaSinong said water in the Mongkol Borei River has almost reached the top of its banks. Water from some sections of the river has already flooded roads in three communes – Soeu, Chamnoam and Rahat Teuk.

In Soeu and Chamnoam communes, more than 3km of roads in five villages have been affected, but only six houses were inundated so far.

In Rahat Teuk commune, 26 houses were flooded in four villages – Chamkar Chek, Chak Lech, ChakKeut and Kramol.

“Authorities have mobilised forces and will intervene to evacuate people from flooded areas to safer ground while the Mongkol Borei River’s water level continues to rise alarmingly,” he said.

Sing Tum, Commander of the Infantry Brigade 51 in the province, told The Post that his forces were rescuing people from the floods and taking them to higher ground. More than 40 families have been rescued.

“Right now, people’s houses along the border stream are completely flooded. However, some families have tried to live in their flooded homes, while some others whose houses have been submerged cannot live in the property, so our forces evacuated them to a safer place,” he said.

Citing the water resources ministry, he said the flood in Poipet town may increase further if rain continues to fall.

Concerning the flood water from Thailand, the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh told The Post that the Nam Sai canal – which naturally separates the lower part of Sa Kaeo province with parts of Cambodia’s Banteay Meanchey and Battambang provinces – has overflowed due to the rainfall.

As the Cambodian side of the canal is at a lower elevation and contains roads and construction which blocks the flow of water, it has naturally flowed to the Cambodian side.

“There are no dams, reservoirs or water gates on the Thai side of the border that are close to the flooded areas on the Cambodian side. Thai authorities in the area are constantly monitoring the situation and are ready to provide assistance to parts of Cambodia that have been affected by the flooding,” the embassy said.