Br Panetto said that the large amount of water destroyed the gate and did not spare any of the buildings on the ground floor. The houses of teachers and staff were destroyed and many now had no place to go, and have asked the Salesians for a place to stay. Also, much machinery and equipment used in the workshops (Mechanical, Welding, Automotive, Electrical) were heavily damaged. No one, thank God, was injured during this calamity.
The heavy rains and strong winds from the tropical storm Lekina, and the impact of the southwest monsoon, hit Cambodia’s coastal provinces, causing floods in several areas, including Sihanoukville. The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology had issued a statement, urging citizens to prepare for this serious natural event. However, the Don Bosco Technical School, the Hotel and Children Fund center of Sihanoukville, suffered flooding on the night between 8 and 9 August. Salesian Brother Roberto Panetto, Economer of the Don Bosco Sihanoukville Center, described what happened.
“Last night at 22:30 (August 8), the heavy rain made me have a walk to check the water level in front of our school. I advised some our staff families and guests at the ground floor of our guesthouse to get ready for some water may enter in their ground floor rooms,” said Br Panetto. “The level of the water on the main road in front of our school started to rise and in a matter of few minutes it was overflowing the dam-wall we had just built to prevent flooding.”
“It is too early to estimate the damage, but I presume it will be closed to one million US dollars,” added Br Panetto. “However, we are happy to see many Salesians, Past Pupils and friends ready to help and encourage in this difficult time here. Thanks to all of you for your prayer and sympathy. The good Lord will inspire generous Benefactors to help us in replacing the damaged items and solve in the best way to preventing future floods.”
Br Panetto took this sad opportunity for a reflection on the environmental conditions in Cambodia, stating that deforestation is one of the main causes for which similar floods occur. Many trees have been uprooted to build hotels, skyscrapers and shopping malls. Also, numerous waterways have been reduced to exploit the land on their banks. Furthermore, garbage is thrown everywhere obstructed the already strained drainage system, and in the end, he said, Nature takes its toll for the bill for the damage caused to it.