High Floodwaters Spread to Siem Reap, Battambang and Pailin

Flooding spread over the weekend as storms hit the country meaning Siem Reap, Battambang and Pailin have all been added to the list of provinces affected by high waters. In Siem Reap province, Nuon Krisna, director of the provincial department of water resources and meteorology, said that water in the Siem Reap river had surpassed the emergency level by 8 centimeters to reach 13.08 meters on Sunday. Officials in Siem Reap also presented conflicting reports on whether or not the Takao dam, near the Angkor Wat temple com­plex, had partially collapsed. … He [Nuon Krisna] said that provincial authorities had ordered the Apsara Authority, which manages the dams and reservoirs around Angkor Wat, to open the dam gates to allow the water to flow into the Western Baray reservoir, in the middle of which lies the 11th century Western Mebon temple, which is now at risk of flooding. Yim Phally, deputy chief of Kokchak commune in Siem Reap City, said that more than 300 families there needed to be evacuated due to the dam partially breaking, while 2,000 homes were flooded. … But deputy Director-General of Apsara Authority Heng Pao said that reports that the dam had broken were incorrect and were based on a misunderstanding of the origin of the floodwater. … Spokeswoman for the Cambodian Red Cross, Men Neary Sopheak, said that the organization was cooperating with local authorities in newly flooded areas in Siem Reap as well as in Pailin and Battambang to help evacuate families and provide assistance. …

Ben Sokhean and Simon Henderson