Local authorities and officials said the flooding along the Stung Prek Tnaot River in Phnom Penh's Dangkor district has receded, though relevant departments and units have refrained from opening the floodgates on the dam given the damage it would do to many homes.
Mao Bunthoeun, director of the Phnom Penh municipal Department of Water Resources and Meteorology, said on January 16 that the water receded after a team dug open some canals to let the water flow into the Bassac River through the Prek Ho and the Bait River, especially after the team decided to close the flood gates at the Roleang Chrey Reservoir Dam in Kampong Speu province on January 15.
In Dangkor district on January 15, many houses as well as some health centres and commune halls were inundated.
“In the next three or four day [from January 17], the water should completely recede from the villagers’ homes. That is, there is no threat to the town or the capital. Our team will continue to monitor the water and the weather conditions on a regular basis,” he said.
Bunthoeun also said that on January 16 a team from the water resources department and local authorities prepared sandbags to prevent the water from flooding the roads and houses by using two excavators and many other trucks.
Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said flooding was not expected to occur in early January, noting that usually, along the Stung Prek Tnaot River, it occurs only in the rainy season and only because it rained hard.
Speaking while monitoring the flooding situation and visiting affected residents in Dangkor district’s Sak Sampov commune on January 16, he said climate change had triggered the rainfall for several days in a row in Kampong Speu province in the upper part of Stung Prek Tnaot and caused flooding in parts of Dangkor.
He urged teams from all relevant departments under the City Hall, especially the authorities in Dangkor district, to continue to watch the dams carefully and prevent them from collapsing in order to guarantee safety, security, order and hygiene for the local residents and the evacuees who were temporarily relocated to a safe place after the water flooded their homes on January 15.
“We need to reinforce the dam along the Stung Prek Tnaot River and tamp down the soil firmly to serve as a road for people to travel and prevent the water from flooding people's villages this rainy season,” he added.
He noted that in Phnom Penh there are Prampi Makara and Sand Sak Sampov dams that are very important in preventing water from flowing in and causing flooding in the urban areas of the capital.
The rare flooding of the Stung Prek Tnaot River in early January took the people living along the river by surprise and they said that this was an unusual and unseasonal flood.
Sao Samin, a 56-year-old resident of Kraing Tapho village in Sak Sampov commune of Dangkor district, told The Post that every year between September and October, his village is flooded by the Stung Prek Tnaot River. But this year the floods have occurred even in early January.
“It is an unseasonal flood and one that I have never seen before. In just three days, the water at the bottom of the river flooded into our house. The river levels rose very fast,” he said.
Dangkor district governor Kim Nhep said the unseasonal flooding of the Stung Prek Tnaot River affected 953 houses that sheltered 1,026 households. The floodwaters inundated 14 concrete roads, two pagodas, two health centres and the commune halls of Spean Thmor and Sak Sampov along with two administrative police stations.
“At this time, the river waters have gradually receded and in the next three or four days, if it does not rain for several days in a row like in the past few days, the water will recede from the houses of the villagers,” he added.
Nhep continued that at least the floods this season did not endanger the lives of any citizens and the flooding of homes and road infrastructure was confined to the suburbs.