March 4, 2000
At least three people drowned and hundreds of farms were sumberged in northeastern Cambodia after a dam in neighboring Vietnam was opened accidentally, reports said Saturday. Kham Khoeun, governor of remote Ratanakiri province, said three districts along the Se San River, which flows into the country from Vietnam, were underwater, and that farms, livestock and fisheries had been destroyed. “Until now the water is still here and it is seriously affecting people living in three districts along the river,” he was quoted as saying in the Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper. He said at least three people drowned when the river burst its banks. “The fisheries and those who make a living from them have been badly affected,” the governor added of the waterway which is a tributary of the Mekong River. Secretary of State for Agriculture Chan Tong Yves said it was unclear why the dam was opened earlier this week and called for the Mekong River Commission, of which Vietnam and Cambodia are members, to look into the situation, according to the Cambodia Daily. Red Cross officials here told AFP they were ready to provide assistance to the province, but had yet to assess the extent of the damage. Many parts of rugged Ratanakiri province are accessible only by air, or through roads in Vietnam. Communication is difficult and there are few telephone lines.
Categories: Mekong Utility Watch