Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Agricultural disaster looms in flood-affected Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Aug. 15 (Xinhua): More than 19,000 hectares of rice paddies in the north-east of Cambodia have been submerged under flood waters for over a week, threatening food-security and livelihoods there, local media said on Tuesday.

An estimated 15,000 hectares of paddy fields in Kompong Thom have been inundated, with 60 percent possibly ruined, while about 3,000 hectares in Preah Vihear have been flooded with 80 percent of fields affected, Nhim Vanda, first vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, was quoted by Cambodian-language newspaper the Kampuchea Thmey as saying.

In Ratanakiri province 1,660 hectares have been flooded with about 80 percent of fields possibly destroyed, said Nhim Vanda, who has been dispatched into the field to monitor the flood situation in each province.

The flooding, which began earlier this month, has also forced the evacuation of 19,000 people from their homes, though approximately 80 percent have now returned, said the paper.

Two adults in Preah Vihear drowned along with nearly 100 buffalos tied in stables, and around four kilometers of national roads in the province and seven kilometers of provincial tracks have also been destroyed, it added.

Four districts in Kompong Thom adjacent to Preah Vihear have suffered from the floods, which originated in the latter province, said Nhim Vanda, adding that about 70 rescue boats have been sent to the region.

Agriculture is Cambodia's third largest pillar industry.

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