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Cambodia: Worst Flooding in a Decade

The heavy rainfall in the upper Mekong River in Laos and Thailand has led to severe flooding in Cambodia. The catastrophe is already the worst flooding in a decade and has left an unpredecented amount of damage in the country.

Many areas have been submerged in floodwaters which have affected thousands of hectares of rice paddies. The floods have also killed more 200 people and destroyed road networks, dams, and other public utilities. Thousands of schools were closed nationwide and voter registration for next year's commune election has been extended.

Radio Free Asia [km] reported the flood impact summarized by the Vice President of Cambodian's National Committee for Disaster Management, Nhem Vanda:

ស្រូវ​ចំនួន​ជាង ៤​សែន​ហិកតារ​បាន​លិច​ទឹក​ជំនន់។ ស្រូវ​ចំនួន​ជាង ២​សែន​៥​ម៉ឺន​ហិកតារ​ទៀត​បាន​ខូចខាត​ទាំង​ស្រុង។ ផ្លូវ​លំ​ប្រវែង​ជិត ៣.០០០​គីឡូម៉ែត្រ​បាន​ខូចខាត។ ទំនប់​ទឹក​ប្រវែង​រវាង ៣០០​គីឡូម៉ែត្រ ទៅ ៤០០​គីឡូម៉ែត្រ បាន​ខូចខាត។ ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ​ស្លាប់​ចំនួន ២៤៧​នាក់។ សាលារៀន​ជាង ១.០០០​កន្លែង​បាន​លិច​ទឹក​ជំនន់។ គេ​បាន​ប៉ាន់ស្មាន​ជា​ថ្មី​ឲ្យ​ដឹង​ថា តម្លៃ​ខូចខាត​សរុប​ជាង ៤០០​លាន​ដុល្លារ​អាមេរិក។

An estimated 400,000 hectares of rice paddies were flooded. Over 250,000 hectares of rice crops were completely lost. 3,000 kilometers of road infrastructures were destroyed. 300-400 kilometers of dams were damaged. Over 247 were killed. More than 1,000 schools were flooded. The estimated loss could cost Cambodia over $400 million.

Author's ancestral home in a village of Kompong Cham Province where the flood level is higher than usual

Among the many provinces which experienced severe flooding is Siem Reap, a major tourism destination where Angkor Wat is located. Travelfish gave an update on the situation in Siem Reap:

Throughout most of town, the floods that have plagued Siem Reap for six long weeks have almost entirely subsided, and the watery streets are back to their usual dusty selves.

The flood has also led to the cancellation of Water Festival, held every November, which usually attracts more than a million provincial residents to visit the town each year. Last year, the festival ended with great tragedy when more than 300 people were killed in a stampede in Koh Pich island. The anniversary of the tragic incident  has coincided with the flooding, which some analysts fear will make it easy for the government to bypass the question of accountability over the crisis.

There have been various ongoing relief efforts from the local and national levels and including the international community to assist the affected residents of flooded villages. Some of the relief efforts are Caritas, Green Gecko kids flood relief initiative and Japan Alumni of Cambodia's Fund for Flood Relief

Chan Sovannara also writes about the flooding disaster:

Man is strong, he can create modern technology, but recently he has been hit by natural disaster. Some countries along the Mekong River — Cambodia, Thailand and China — are challenged with natural flooding. This year, Cambodia has become a victim of flooding which has left over a hundred people dead, and thousands of households destroyed.

The flood has hit 165,619 households and affected 231,044 families, 1,053 schools, 434 pagodas, 76 health care centers, 304,469 hectares of rice fields, and 10,535 hectares of other crops. The Cambodian authorities are working to find out the exact datas of victims, households, and costing which are damaged by flood 2011.

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