Flood instructions issued for schools to bolster safety

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Students walk past a flooded school in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district on Thursday as more rain is expected. Heng Chivoan

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Wednesday issued guidelines for schools to lessen the impact of flood damage.

Minister Hang Chuon Naron said the recent flash floods have affected school buildings, study materials and equipment.

He advised departments to monitor the weather and flood information regularly and prohibit students from playing in heavy flowing floodwaters. If necessary, students should be evacuated to a safe place and avoid travelling by water.

“School management and teachers must facilitate the travel of students in ways that are safe and responsible. Parents and guardians need to take their children to school and back carefully,” he said.

The minister added that schools must cooperate with local authorities, school support committees, civil society organisations, charities and others to reduce the risk of disaster.

“Teachers must be encouraged to use all methods to continue teaching, including distance learning. School directors must provide information regularly and report on the impacts of flooding.”

Schools not affected by floods, he said, need to continue to monitor the weather and flood situation regularly while those located in vulnerable areas must be prepared by storing materials such as books, electronic equipment and electrical appliances.

He also advised all to work together to clean buildings and classrooms when the flooding stops. He said school management committees might need to fix desks, chairs, whiteboards, cabinets, school equipment, and prepare damage reports.

Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post on Thursday that a small number of schools have temporarily suspended activities due to flash floods in provinces located in lowland areas.

“The ministry continues to pay close attention to the situation, based on official meteorological forecasts. The ministry’s school disaster management working group has continued to cooperate with school management committees and the local authorities to be ready to intervene as needed,” he said.

He said the ministry welcomes all cooperation to prevent and respond to the effects of floods in public schools.

He asked students and teachers to be vigilant, continue healthcare and respect traffic laws, including wearing helmets.

According to a National Committee for Disaster Management report issued on Thursday, 425 schools have been impacted by floods.

They include 26 schools in Pursat province, 316 in Battambang, 39 in Banteay Meanchey, two in Pailin, 23 in Kandal, one in Preah Sihanouk, one in Kampong Thom, two in Stung Treng, one in Kampong Speu, three in Takeo, one in Kampong Cham and 10 in Siem Reap.