Floods claim 207 lives in Cambodia

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The Mekong River and flash floods had killed at least 207 people and affected about 1.2 million people in 19 inundated cities and provinces in Cambodia, Nhim Vanda, the first vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said on Monday in a press briefing.

"Among the dead, 52 percent is children," he said.

More than 300,000 hectares of rice paddies have been affected and other 100,000 hectares of rice paddies were completely damaged.

Some 600 houses were swept away by floods and other 196,600 houses, 1,132 schools and 400 Buddhist pagodas are inundated, he said, adding that some 180 kilometers of national roads and around 1,800 kilometers of gravel roads have been affected.

"It's estimated that the damaged cost from floods this year seems comparable to the damage in the floods in the year 2000 of 161 million U.S. dollars," he said.

Meanwhile, Nhim Vanda said that the government of Cambodia has released 1,900 tons of milled rice to distribute to the victims.

So far, the government of Cambodia, Cambodian Red Cross, charitable countries and organizations has distributed emergency relief to more than 70,000 families with about 280,000 people out of the 100,000 families who have been evacuated to higher ground.

He said that China, Japan, World Food Program, and a number of local and international organizations have also provided emergency relief to the flood victims.

Also, the Asian Development Bank has pledged to provide a grant of 3 million U.S. dollars to Cambodia to rehabilitate gravel roads after the floods.

Nhim Vanda said that as of Monday, floods have been slowing receding, but only in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, the Mekong River's water level still slightly rise to 10.86 meters.

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