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Typhoon aid goes slowly to Kampong Thom

There are fears that some villages and people have not yet been reached by the Typhoon Ketsana cleanup programme in Kampong Thom, despite the gradual recession of flooding, relief workers said Sunday.

Country head of Oxfam International in Cambodia, Francis Perez, said retreating floodwaters have left thick mud, making access to remote areas of the worst-hit province “restricted”.

“We are still concerned about the sanitation and public health of the villages in the safe areas, but I’m also sure that there are some small villages we haven’t reached yet, and this is a major worry for us,” he said.

The national death toll of 24 had not increased as of Sunday evening, but another concern was the forecast of further downpours.

“If the forecasts are true and it rains some more in Kampong Thom, it will make it even harder to deliver aid to the area. This is a huge concern because food from Phnom Penh has already been moving slowly,” Perez said.

“We will work closely with the Red Cross and the government to ensure supplies arrive as soon as possible,” he added, speaking two days after Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered cooperation among government officials and relevant aid groups. In Friday’s cabinet meeting, the premier encouraged all parties involved in the cleanup to ensure “no one dies of hunger” in the Kingdom’s worst-hit area, and that “agricultural infrastructures are restored”.

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