Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Drought relief campaign over: PM

Drought relief campaign over: PM

Authorities distribute water from a fire truck into buckets late last month in Banteay Meanchey province during water shortages. Photo supplied
Authorities distribute water from a fire truck into buckets late last month in Banteay Meanchey province during water shortages. Photo supplied

Drought relief campaign over: PM

The government’s emergency campaign to distribute water to some 2.5 million people affected by drought is over, Prime Minister Hun Sen declared yesterday, though for development partners and humanitarian groups, drought relief efforts continue.

The announcement, which came just three days after the premier took to Facebook calling for water distribution efforts to continue, was delivered at a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh.

“It’s the end of the big campaign, but it’s not the end of distributing water to the areas that lack water. We have to continue in those areas,” he said, adding that this year proved to be a “lesson” to the government for future drought planning.

“We’ve never experienced a shortage of water [like this] . . . We have never held a campaign to distribute water like this,” he continued.

The premier went on to say that improvements to wells and other water infrastructure must continue. Separately, he said the Water Festival’s boat race “must” occur this year after last year’s suspension.

The government’s campaign began on April 26, and 500 million riel (about $125,000) was budgeted for the nearly one-month operation. The National Committee for Disaster Management could not be reached yesterday to provide an update on how many people still face water shortages.

The World Food Programme, UNICEF and FAO are conducting a nationwide household survey to assess “medium and long term needs related to the prolonged El Niño period”, the Humanitarian Response Forum (HRF) said in a statement yesterday.

Relief group ActionAid’s Harald Guelker, who also co-chairs the HRF, cautioned: “The first rains do not mean that the crisis is over. It will take time for groundwater aquifers to recharge and drinking water wells [to] fill up again to normal levels.”

What’s more, initial rains “can flush dirt and feces into open water sources”, increasing the risk of disease, he said.

“We all need to get prepared for the next drought; wells need to be improved, more effective rainwater harvesting in schools and homes needs to be promoted and groundwater monitoring needs to be strengthened.”

World Vision’s humanitarian and emergency affairs manager Socheath So said that his group has spent over $400,000 on short- and long-term drought response in March and April, and has allocated about $200,000 for continued efforts through July.

Humanitarian and disaster reduction manager for Save the Children Seng Samban said yesterday that his organisation “will continue water distribution to schools that still lack water”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The