Cambodia is experiencing its worst seasonal flooding in more than a decade. Seventeen of the country's 24 provinces have been affected – with 1,500,000 people affected nation-wide and more than 90,000 families displaced, according to authorities. The death toll stands at 207.
About 13 percent of Cambodia's rice crop is currently flooded, almost half of which is now destroyed, and that is likely to gravely affect the access to and availability of food, as many people will have no rice to harvest in November and December. This is because that once water levels reach their peak it is expected that the water will take well over a month to drain. This means that people are unlikely to be able to plant even when the waters do recede.
As a result, food shortages and high rice prices are likely to make rice unaffordable through to the next harvest period, December 2012. Many families affected by the floods have been forced to eat their rice seeds, meaning that they will have no stocks left for replanting.
As another example of economic hardship, many of the affected families live around 4 to 5 km (about 3 miles) from the markets, which are only accessible by boat. The costs of renting boats ranges between 4,000-5,000 rile (between US $1 and US $1.25 a trip) -- substantially decreasing people's ability to access basic commodities.
CWS is responding as part of a joint six-month effort of ACT Alliance members working in Cambodia, and has been conducting
assessments. Distribution by CWS of rice (from the World Food Program) began last week.
The overall objective of the effort by CWS and other ACT Alliance members is to provide food and water purification tablets to 8,859 of the most affected and poorest families in the provinces of Battambang, Kampong Thom, Preah Veahar, Prey Veng, Kampong Chhnang and Pursat. Other objectives: to provide livelihood assistance to 5,000 families and to enhance accountability and coordination with local authorities, NGOs and others. This is intended to build stronger communities.
CWS is assisting 2,928 of the affected families. Assistance includes food packages that consist of 25 kg. of rice; 15 cans of canned fish; cooking oil and salt. Among the non-food items: water purification tablets for at least two weeks; water buckets/containers for some residents; and water filters in some areas. Some areas will also receive mosquito nets and plastic sheets.
$177,432 total, which includes $165,576 in direct assistance (food and non-food items). Remaining costs are for personnel,
administration, operations and support.
HOW TO HELP: Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be made online, sent to your denomination, or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. Please designate: Cambodia Flood Response 2011, Appeal Number #700-A.
Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.