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Inmates Evacuated as Floodwater Fills Cambodian Prison

A Cambodian woman pushes a church gate with an oar to steer her wooden boat in a flooded area along the Mekong river in Koh Phos village, Kandal province near Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013.
More than 800 inmates were evacuated from a Cambodian prison Thursday following heavy flooding that breached the walls and filled the cells.

"The height of the water reached the waist, shoulders or even necks in some parts," said Soum Chankea, coordinator for the rights group Adhoc in Banteay Meanchey province.

An official told VOA's Khmer service the prisoners have been transferred from Banteay Meanchey to facilities in nearby provinces.

Cambodia’s prison system is severely overcrowded, and it is unclear how long these facilities can properly keep such an large influx of inmates.

Severe flooding across half of Cambodia’s provinces this month has led to the deaths of 104 people and affected 1.5 million people, according to government disaster officials.

The the waters are expected to start subsiding in the coming days.