The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) released a report yesterday showing that only $356 million was spent on the restoration of infrastructure destroyed by last year’s floods – far below the $500 million in damage estimated beforehand.
Nhim Vanda, vice chairman of the NCDM, said that after the floods receded, the committee anticipated $500 million in damage, but that reports showed a much lower repairs bill across the country once local authorities had completed the restorations.
“We saw that we lost so much in the flood damage in 2013, [but] we found that only $356 million was spent [after we restored the infrastructure].”
The report studied the social, economic and infrastructure sectors in order to assess the costs of the clean-up.
About 1.8 million people in 20 provinces were affected by the waters last year, 168 of whom were killed, Vanda said.
More than 1,000 schools, 78 hospitals and health centres, as well as other buildings and roads were destroyed. More than 120,000 hectares of rice fields and other crops were also damaged, he added.
Farmer Chan Veasna recounted the devastation the floods inflicted on his house and crops in Battambang’s Bavel district.
“After my farm was damaged, I started to grow anew, but [I’m still awaiting] the result. That is why now I must find a job as a labourer in another country to support my family and build a new house in my homeland.”
NCDM also called on local authorities to prepare for the floods looming this year, and to educate the population on precautions to avoid similar damage as past seasons.
Kong Sok, a commune chief in Poipet, said that Banteay Meanchey was the province most severely affected by last year’s floods, but that its infrastructure was now restored.
“Now, we will face the damage ahead in 2014,” Sok said.
“Local authorities have come to meet the residents to prepare them for the coming floods.”