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Aid arrives but floods slow to recede

Aid arrives but floods slow to recede

With water levels still rising in three northern provinces yesterday, officials said they had yet to determine how many people displaced by the worst flooding to hit the Kingdom in more than a decade were still waiting for aid.

Keo Vy, a spokesperson for National Committee of Disaster Management, said yesterday that there was no national data on the number of people who had yet to receive aid.

He said, however, that 76,000 affected families – including those who received only one delivery of aid in the two months of flooding – had received help so far. There was no national data on the frequency with which these families had received help, he said.

“We are still in the process of providing aid and teams are still assessing which families are in need of it,” Keo Vy added, identifying the three provinces hardest hit as Kampong Thom, Prey Veng and Kampong Cham.

A spokesperson for Save the Children said there was “no regular coordination of data at the national level on the number of people affected” by the flooding. International NGOs relied on provincial offices of the National Committee for Disaster Management for data, she said.

Andrew Moore, country director for Save the Children, said national coordination of information would be helpful to better assist those affected by the flooding. He also said that the flooding, which has claimed at least 247 lives, would have the most impact on peoples’ livelihoods because crops had been destroyed and opportunities for agricultural work lost.

Cambodia has not made an appeal for international assistance to cope with the floods, but international relief agencies and foreign governments have provided assistance.

Save the Children has raised US$450,000 for flood relief, including $50,000 from USAid. It will distribute relief to 10,000 families in Kampong Cham this week. The first delivery of the $7.88 million worth of humanitarian relief from China arrived on Saturday. It inlcuded medicine, blankets, and mosquito nets.

Sau Sisamuth, Oxfam’s program manager for Kampong Thom, said that many of those who had been counted as receiving aid needed more. Communities along the Steng Saen River were facing food shortages and farmers were running out of grazing land for cattle.

Floodwaters were also receding more slowly than in previous years, Sau Sisamuth said. In previous years, floods usually receded within 10 days, but this year they had yet to recede after more than one month, she said, adding that it was still raining in the province yesterday.

“Our biggest worry is more rainfall,” she said.

About 10,000 families in Kampong Thom had yet to receive aid as of last week, officials said. In Kampong Cham about 13,000 families had received at least one delivery of emergency aid and another 10,000 families had been identified as in need of aid, Oum Peaurng Vuth, director of administration in Kampong Cham, said. Figures for the number of people waiting for aid in Prey Veng province were not available yesterday.

According to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, the Mekong is forecast to rise about 10 centimetres in Stung Treng, Kratie and Kampong Cham today, and tomorrow it will continue to rise slightly in Kratie and Kampong Cham. Water levels are, however, on the decline in downstream provinces, according to the ministry.

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