AS deadly floodwaters continued to inundate large parts of the Kingdom yesterday, a European official highlighted the lack of provisions to tackle the challenges of climate change.
“Recent studies have confirmed that climate change is a very complex issue and that Cambodia is one of the worst prepared in Southeast Asia to adapt to the potential negative consequences of climate change,” Chargé d’Affaires of the EU delegation to Cambodia Rafael Dochao Moreno said at a conference in Phnom Penh.
Highlighting people’s “very limited” knowledge of the causes and impact of climate change, he urged attendees to assess changes that could be made to risk management policies to prepare for future challenges.
Senior minister and first vice-president of the National Committee for Disaster Management Nhim Vanda said during the meeting that dealing with disasters and harsh weather was a common challenge for Cambodians.
“Our people are always faced with flooding, drought, storms and disease and it affects their lives, agriculture and the national economy,” he said.
However, the key to lessening the negative impact it has on people’s lives, he said, was to instruct communities on how to properly manage and cope with the risks and consequences of disaster.
“A poor farmer living somewhere in the Cambodian countryside really does not care whether an extreme event in his village has been caused by a disaster or is the result of climate change,” Moreno said.
“What he cares about is how to reduce the damage, to get over it as quick as possible and become more resilient to similar future events.”
In recent weeks, provinces all across Cambodia have suffered from substantial flooding and water levels of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap have continued to rise.
Prey Veng province police said yesterday that a 43-year-old drunk man drowned in his sleep as floodwaters rose around him on Monday night. The director of Cambodian Red Cross in Kampong Thom, Chea Cheat, said a 49-year-old woman drowned on Sunday in the province.
This year’s flooding death toll now stands at around 30 people, Nhim Vanda said. In Stung Treng province, flood waters are expected to rise over the next three to four days, an official statement said. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY PHAK SEANGLY AND KHOUTH SOPHAK CHAKRYA