Sep 29 2011
Cambodia has been hard hit by flooding this year with many cities and provinces experiencing high water levels and associated fatalities. Phnom Penh is poised to be next, with the swollen Tonle Sap river threatening to flood.
The flooding in Cambodia has already affected over 90,000 families in 14 provinces. Earlier this week tourists had to be evacuated by helicopter from the temples in Siem Reap, where the flooding has been extensive. Around 100 fatalities have already been reported, including a Brit whose death is thought to have been caused by trying to cross a flooded area while drunk (so please be careful out there!)
The flooding has presented the Cambodian government and foreign NGOs with a quandary, seeing as that this week was a public holiday for Pchum Ben — the Cambodian festival of the dead — and not an ideal time for emergency meetings or disaster preparedness. The China Daily reports that provincial governors have been asked not to leave the country on trips overseas. Despite this, response to the flooding has been…well…muted. The millions of dollars of foreign money that has gone for flood prevention seems to have had little effect. Local newspapers have taken the week off for holidays, so don’t expect to get much information there. The kids don’t care, though, and are happy to take the opportunity to go for a swim wherever they can.
Sandbags are up around Nagaworld, where the Tonle Sap has risen to meters above its dry-season levels. The Cambodia Daily reports that suburbs of Phnom Penh that have not experienced flooding in over a decade are underwater, and that more flooding in the city is expected.
Flights in and out of PNH are still flying on-schedule, and most buses are also running on time, albeit very packed due to the holiday.
Despite the government weather warnings from the embassies of many Western countries, and a flood alarm from the Mekong River Advisory, life is going on in Phnom Penh (despite the massive Pchum Ben slowdown).
As always, LTO Cambodia has great info on what’s going on and you can see more pictures and general groaning on expat forum Khmer440. Please stay safe and follow our tips for visiting Phnom Penh during the rainy season.
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