As the official flood death toll rose to 164 yesterday, the government and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation began planning emergency food rations, rice seed supply and technical assistance for agricultural rehabilitation.
The newly-appointed FAO representative in Cambodia, Nina Brandstrup, met with Foreign Minister Hor Namhong to discuss the overall impact of the deadly floods.
“We need to wait for the water to recede before we find out how much damage was actually done to the crops before the FAO know what to do, which areas to act in,” Brandstrup said.
“The government’s taskforce had been monitoring the impact of floodwaters, and identifying which villages need emergency food and rice seeds,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong told the Post.
The Foreign Minster has expressed concern that little will remain of the Kingdom’s annual target of three million tons of surplus rice, he added.
Cabinet Chief of the National Committee for Disaster Management Keo Vy said yesterday that more than 215,162 families had now been affected and 20,914 families evacuated.
He added that more than 135,000 houses, 424 pagodas, 904 schools, 161 bridges, 75 healthcare centres, and 244 kilometres of road had been affected.
The water in the Mekong river in Stung Treng and Kratie provinces was continuing to rise, Keo Vy said.
“In Stung Treng the water has risen 0.4 metres, Kratie increased 0.2 metres and in Phnom Penh the water has increased 0.03 metres.” Ministry of Agriculture director Ngen Chhay said there were 328,150 hectares of rice under water and 111,373 hectares of rice had been completely destroyed.
“We cannot estimate yet whether the people will face a lack of food because we have not yet evaluated the total impact of flooding,” Ngen Chhay said, adding that the worst hit provinces were Prey Veng, Kampong Cham and Siem Reap.
The Siem Reap river rose 200 millimetres near the city and 70 millimetres in the plateau region, tourist officials said yesterday. “There was raining in Kulen Mountain on Monday,” Provincial Water Resources Department chairman Nuon Krissna said.
“Seventy percent of that water flows into the Siem Reap river.” But Nuon Krissna dismissed fears that the swollen Tonle Sap lake would bring more serious flooding to the province.
And, contrary to the “wait and see” approach, Oxfam yesterday called for the urgent delivery of aid to people affected by flooding and said food, clean water, sanitation supplies and shelters were immediately need to save lives.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY THIK KALIYANN