PRIME Minister Hun Sen urged the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, the government and provinical authorities to prepare to supply emergency food, sanitation and shelter to the thousands of Cambodians affected by Typhoon Ketsana.
Speaking at Brigade 70’s 15th anniversary parade Tuesday, the premier said: “I sympathise with people who died in Typhoon Ketsana. This was a disaster such as we have not seen since 2000, and, in its wake, we must ensure that its victims are not faced with starvation.”
Ketsana slammed into Cambodia on September 29, pummelling the country with 185km/h winds and torrential rain. Two weeks on, conditions in the hardest-hit provinces are still grim. Oxfam spokesman Seang Soleak recalled the story of You Thaych, 25, from Toulchar village in Kampong Thom.
“She was a 25-year-old mother of five with a newborn baby, just one-and-a-half months old. Before the typhoon, the family evacuated to higher ground. On the night Ketsana hit, it blew the roof off the place they were staying, and they were forced to sleep in the rain. The newborn baby had nothing but a little blanket.”
The baby survived, as did the rest of You Thaych’s family, but they have been forced to rely on NGOs for food. During the storm, her fisherman husband sustained a leg injury that became infected, leaving him unable to work.
“They were living in an extremely difficult situation,” Seang Soleak said. “They were trying to borrow rice from their neighbours, but everyone else was running out of rice, too.”