Sunday, October 2, 2011

Siem Reap Not Flooding - Trip Report 2

Tep Vong Street, Siem Reap
When I arrived in Siem Reap a week ago Sunday, much of the town was knee deep in water, affected by the flooding that has swept the country over the past few weeks. (See Siem Reap Flooding - Trip Report.) As I left Siem Reap for Phnom Penh early this afternoon, the majority of the in-town flooding had subsided, mostly over the last 3 days. Though much lower, some flooding remained - south of the Old Market area, along short sections of Sivutha Blvd, along stretches of the river road on the east side of the river (Achar Sva Street) and in parts of the Wat Bo area, but all seemed to be draining fairly quickly. The north end of town was completely free of flooding, as was the north end of the Wat Bo area, most of Sivutha Blvd, the Taphul Village area and the Old French Quarter, all of Pub Street and most of the Old Market shopping district. There was still an inch or two of water on the streets around the Old Market itself but the market was open for business as were all of the businesses on Pub Street and most other shops and restaurants in the area.

This was the second time in as many weeks that Siem Reap town has flooded, but as I left the town today, it was quickly returning to normal. Whether the flooding returns will depend on the weather.

I drove from Siem Reap back to Phnom Penh following the same route I came - National Route 6 through Kampong Thom to Skun, then Route 6A through northern Kandal province and on into Phnom Penh. The road was completely dry and easily passable the entire length of the trip. Short sections of road had been damaged by the flooding, but not severely. I saw several Phnom Penh-Siem Reap tourist buses heading both directions.

The flooding in the countryside visible from the road between Siem Reap and Skun had gone down noticeably as compared to a week ago, exposing vast green rice paddies. There was still considerable flooding in the countryside south of Skun along Route 6A in northern Kandal province and the rivers in that area were still overflowing and moving fast and hard. The worst of it that I could see was in the area of Prek Kdam where the road nears and parallels the Mekong River. But even there, water that had been lapping at the road's edge last week had pulled back a couple of meters or more from the road and the possibility of water over the road seemed less of a threat than last week.

One oddity I noticed in the trip was that every countryside school grounds and most medical clinics that I could see from the road were still at least ankle deep in water, even in areas where most of the flooding had receded. I am not sure why except that it would seem schools and clinics are constructed on low ground.

For up-to-date information on Mekong River levels and flooding threats along the Mekong see the Mekong River Commission - Information Resource page



Siem Reap Map courtesy of Canby Publications

4 comments:

  1. Hope all's well in Siem Reap now. Was there in 2010 and feel for them kind people. My thoughts are with the families living in Tonle Sap floating village. I really hope they're fine.

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  2. Hi thanks for posting this!
    what's it like now? need urgent reply.

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  3. I am in Phnom Penh at the moment, not Siem Reap. So let be begin by qualifying the following information: it is second hand, spotty and at least several hours old. I am not there to check it myself.

    My understanding is that there has not been any rain in Siem Reap town for at least several days. And that the streets have been mostly dry for almost a week, BUT, parts of town began to flood again as of yesterday evening (Sun, Oct 9.) The flooding is not as bad as last week, at least so far. It is not as deep or extensive as of this afternoon, but I do not know what tomorrow will bring. From what I have heard, it is in the same areas as last week - the Old Market area, the east side of the river in town, and perhaps along Sivutha Blvd. As of mid-day today, it was not raining in Siem Reap town, and the current flooding is probably due to rains in the mountains to the north.

    Many have said that the flooding in Siem Reap town is like a yo-yo. The river swells fairly quickly, sometime spilling over into the town causing limited flooding, then drains off, sometimes within a day or two, depending on the weather.

    When I was there the worst of the flooding in town was ankle to knee deep. My understanding is that as of this afternoon, it was mostly ankle deep or less.

    I would like to emphasize that this is second hand info.

    If you follow twitter, http://twitter.com/#!/SimOliver is up there right now and tweets about the flooding intermittently. http://twitter.com/#!/rosyguesthouse in Siem Reap also sometimes tweets about the flooding.

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  4. Only in Cambodia just posted photos and info on the current flooding on her blog:

    October 10, 'Water, water everywhere': "OK. So We're going through our 3rd flood in Siem Reap where the river has over flown its banks and spilled into the streets turning them into extended tributaries. From morning to afternoon, the river rose and spilled over so that you couldn't see its banks..."

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