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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     10 October  2011                    

Cambodia’s flood toll rises

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With the death toll from flooding in Cambodia climbing to 206 over the weekend and lengthy sections of banks along the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac rivers at risk of collapse, the government was urged yesterday to call for international assistance.

“I think the government needs to launch an appeal to the international community for assistance,” Kim Rattana, executive director of relief agency Caritas, said yesterday. “Foreign donors are waiting for an official appeal before they will donate.”

The statement followed Saturday’s warning from the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology that riverbanks were in danger of collapse. People living along rivers faced the greatest danger and were urged by the ministry to pay close attention to the state of riverbanks. The statement also enlisted other ministries and local authorities to monitor the risk faced by people living alongside rivers.

“Because the riverbanks are wet and soft from the long period of flooding, they are more susceptible to collapse,” the ministry said.

National Committee for Disaster Management vice president Nhim Vanda said 206 people were reported dead, more than one million people had been affected by the floods and more than 100,000 hectares of rice fields had been inundated with floodwaters.

Nhim Vanda went to Phnom Penh International Airport on Saturday to receive emergency aid sent from the Japanese government, including desperately-needed water containers, tents, mosquito nets, mats and tanks for clean water, he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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