Unusually severe flooding in Cambodia has left at least 58 people dead, including 31 children, a disaster official said Friday. Heavy rains since August and overflow from the Mekong River have left large areas waterlogged, affecting thousands of hectares of rice paddies, Keo Vy of the National Committee for Disaster Management told AFP.
“Flooding this year has caused more serious damage than in previous years,” he said, adding that at least 5 633 families have been evacuated from their homes to higher ground.
Nearly 200 tourists, including foreigners, were airlifted from Cambodia’s famed Angkor temple complex on Thursday after a road to one of the ruins was cut off by flash floods. .
The group visiting the 10th century Banteay Srey temple included tourists from the U.S., South Korea, France, Britain and Russia, district official Mom Vuthy said. The flooding also forced thousands of area residents to abandon their homes for high ground, or to camp on roofs or in trees, he said.
Brittny Anderson, 26, from Oregon said she was grateful for local residents who brought food to the stranded tourists as they waited on high ground for the helicopter rescues.
"I am scared for the villagers whose houses were under water," she said in a telephone interview. "I heard that the villagers had climbed trees and I'm very worried for their safety."
The temple is just 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the Angkor Wat temple complex, one of Asia's greatest landmarks and Cambodia's top tourist attraction. It was not yet known if any of the region's temples were damaged in the flooding, said Mey Marady, vice secretary general of Apsara Authority, a government agency that oversee the temples.
At Siem Reap Town, Most schools, markets and roads have been closed for a while.
My hometown, Srok Ler Dek, Kandah Province, 7 – 8 houses were collapsed this afternoon (Sep 24 at 1.15pm). And the people have been now evacuated from their homes to higher ground.
Further reading: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/sep/22/as-cambodia-flooding/