Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, the Inspection Visit to the Flood-Affected Parts and Meetings with People of Phnom Penh’s Dangkao District [Unofficial Translation]

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CNV:

Dear brothers and sisters, today, I have come to see you this place to share hardships symbolically with victims of rainwater flooding in the whole country. We have tens of thousands of households affected by rainwater flooding. Let me share with you my regret over the loss of 13 lives from this flooding incident in the whole country. It has been quite fortunate that for the incident of rainwater-inflicted flooding in Phnom Penh and Kandal province, no life has lost. It is very unfortunate that while we are fighting with hardships caused by world deadly threatening Covind-19 pandemic, we have had to evacuate our people from their residential areas. Taking people to safe ground has been the highest priority set by the Royal Government for authorities of every levels.

The Armed Forces Play Central Rescuing Role

I have a high appreciation for authorities of every levels – municipal, provincial, etc. for their efforts in the flood-afflicted areas. My appreciations go to the armed forces for their efforts to evacuate our people to safe ground. They have made efforts and sacrifices. The armed forces – regular and regional forces, the military police, and the police force, especially, have made effective efforts in every afflicted areas to save our people. I would urge the armed forces to continue to serve as the backbone of final intervention mission to recue our people as they have done so far. It is nothing new as a matter of fact that our armed forces have taken up this role. In and since the 1980s, the armed forces has always been the central force to help deal with disaster. Where the civilian administration cannot respond, the armed forces takes up the central role of rescuing people. We have many forces involved here today to help rescue people in Phnom Penh and in Kandal province […]

Moving People to Safe Ground Highest Priority

We just had rain and we are still under light rain now complicating people’s already desperate living difficulties. We have not yet finalized losses caused because it is now the priority of the Royal Government and relevant authorities to rescue our people to safer ground. The message is not for the authorities of Phnom Penh and Kandal province alone but for every provinces in the whole country. As of now, there have been only ten provinces that I have administered financial helps. However, in the immediate time, according to forecast of the Ministry of Water Resource and Meteorology, more rain will be coming.

Every provinces must be prepared and prioritize their missions to move people out of afflicted areas to safer grounds. I am calling on our people in those flood prone areas to accept moving out as instructed by relevant authorities. They should not subscribe to their feeling of “maybe it would be alright.” People have been cooperating so far with the authorities and the armed forces. We continue to work it out together to win over this unfavorable consequences caused by storms and rains in the region, especially those originated from the South China Sea and crossed over Vietnam to Thailand, Laos and also covering our country.

Moving People to Safe Ground, Back to Their Residents, Providing Food

I am calling on relevant authorities of every level to pay attention to, firstly, evacuate people in flood-afflicted areas to safer ground designated and prepared in advance […] secondly, after the flood receded, they must help transport and move people back to their residential areas, […], thirdly, we must provide them with food and offer medical treatment […]. I am calling on the people to protect themselves and exercise hygienic practices. I already make available a case of drinking water to every afflicted households. It is on the way to every affected provinces. Please do not drink unclean water or it will cause waterborne diseases that complicate your situation further. There must be physicians in permanent at every safe ground […] to take care of eventual health problems […]

Taking this opportune moment, I thank Oknha Hong Piv for allowing us to use this place (in his satellite city project) of Borei Pipob Thmey – Kuor Srov Pi to host our people. I also advise authorities to make sure that everyone are now in safe ground. There could be some still in the house and could not be reached because their phones are out of batteries, for instance. I urge the rescuing teams to move from house to house to check for them and relevant forces must look after and defend their properties against thefts […]

Over Six Million in Charity

I thank generous beings for making a contribution of over six million USD. The Royal Government has not made any request for help to anyone but generous people with abundant resources voluntarily shared altogether so far over six million USD. To my phone, yesterday generous people had requested to contribute financial help. That was why on my Facebook account I posted my letter of thanks […]. This has clearly indicated how united we are among our people.

Covid-19 caused us damages but the Royal Government has been using its financial resources, with two major contributions from HM the King and the Queen Mother as well as those from the generous fellows, nearly 20 million USD in all, to deal with its consequences. This has not yet counted in financial devotion that the Government officials contributed from their salaries. We have not used it yet. We still have left about ten million USD of the nearly 20 million USD fund for combating Covid-19 […]

As the flood hit, in 24 hours, financial contribution from generous fellows has reached over six million USD. They fund will go to the National Disaster Management Committee to prioritize on the rescuing missions. It is true that provinces where the affection from rainwater flooding is not too disastrous has been able financially to deal with it on their own. However, I make decision to offer the financial share to them, Kandal province for instance. After things going to normal, we will immediately look at our plan of restoration of infrastructures – national and provincial roads, agricultural losses – rice and other crops, damaged by flood. We will assess and work on helping people to restore their living conditions […]

Rainwater Surpassed Absorption Capabilities of Ground System

I may have your attention at this point that rainwater flooding does not happen only in Cambodia. Thailand has informed us that they may let go rainwater from their catchment system, though they have not yet done so. Should there be water coming from Thailand too, the province of Banteay Meanjei would be in bigger trouble. Dozens of lives lost in Vietnam and many gone missing. Other countries in the region have come through this. If I am not mistaken, as far as Prek Thnaot (to the southwest and south of Phnom Penh) is concerned, on 2 December 1998, I came here to meet with people flooded in the district of Kandal’s Kandal Stoeung district. In 1991, it also happened once. I travelled by motorbike to inspect flood impacts from Kandal Stoeung through to Ang Snuol, which was then the district of Phnom Penh.

In 2000, it happened again and I ordered cutting open the national road 2 to divert water from going into Phnom Penh. The creek of Ro Teang or Ta Hao canal came into being then. In 2001, I visited Sak Sampeo where the protection dike of Prek Thnaot washed out by flood […]. Luckily, this year, compared to the flood in 2000, when rainwater could not flow into the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Tonle Bassac because the seasonal flood in the system was high, the water level in those systems are low that they can absorb rainwater quickly […]. This happened because rainwater in the upper parts of the country had been huge surpassing absorbing capability of the ground waterways […]

Leaving No One to Die of Hunger or Drown Without Help

Though huge rain caused so much flooding surpassing our waterways capability, once it receded, there would be no water left and we may even have problem searching for water resource. I have no need to respond to anyone (about this fact of flooding) and I am calling on out people to exercise high precautions against possible poisonous animals that might have come closer to human because they are also in danger. I have reports coming in to me regularly but I wanted to come out see our people with my own eyes […] I will visit people at another safe ground at the Prek Jrey Bridge. As many people are facing with hardships, Prime Minister is also having his share of responsibility because he has 16 million people to think about and we are working the bast we can to allow no one die of hunger or to go drowning without our knowledge and help […]

Even in Flooding, Social Distancing Needed

I wanted to see our people at night to see with my own eyes how our people spend their nights. I urge them to take good care of themselves. We have been sitting quite close to one another. Some even wanted to shake hands. I apologized. We must not shake hands to make sure that no one would carry Covid-19 since we have no way of knowing who may and who may not have it. It is a safe thing for us to keep distance from one another. Let us fight it out of disastrous rainwater flooding on the one hand and Covid-19 on the other […]

With better assessments (of damages), we will figure how to get the armed forces to help people put back their residents/homes in order. We have spent 800,000 USD from the over six million USD contribution fund for the flood disaster management. With the remaining money, […] we will figure out what best to do to help our people and who should have what kind of assistance. I have the responsibility to make sure the money will be for good use. However, the most important task now for every provinces, those yet affected by the harsh weather, is to identify high grounds. Should there be flooding, we have exactly where to evacuate our people to. We also have to do our best to take hygienic issues and sanitation into action […]

Cambodia to Overcome Obstacles

I thank people in the whole country for expressing their cares and thoughts […] thanks to those broadcasts by online TV and other TV stations I am sure Cambodians in France, the US, Canada, and everywhere in the whole world could see with their own eyes as to what have happened here […]. I have strong belief that Cambodia and Cambodians will overcome obstacles before them. We continue to fight together against Covid-19, to fight natural calamity flooding, and to work together to restore our country in the post flooding and Covid-19 times […]./.