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Friday, 8 September, 2000, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Flood waters threaten Cambodian capital
Flood
Flooding has already hit large areas of Cambodia
More than 2,000 police have been called in to help prevent serious flooding on the outskirts of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, as waters continue to rise.

The deputy governor of Phnom Penh says the city will be inundated if the Mekong river, which flows close to the city, rises by more than 20 centimetres (eight inches) .


River banks in and around the capital are being fortified with sandbags and some outer areas of the capital have already been flooded.

A state of emergency has been declared in the capital and in the provinces of Stung Treng, Kratie and Kompong Cham along the Mekong river.

Government flood warnings have been broadcast on TV and radio stations since Monday.

Heavy monsoon

Police
Police have been drafted in to lay sandbags near the capital
Officials say the flooding, which began with unusually heavy monsoon rains in late July, is the worst to hit Cambodia in 40 years.

The rainy season does not usually reach its peak until September.

A total of 51 people have been killed so far, most of them children, and almost half a million people are reported to have been affected by the flooding.

Large areas of farmland have also been destroyed.

Government officials have appealed for international assistance to provide food and shelter to those made homeless by the rising waters.

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