Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Floods kill 62, affect 2 million

Floods kill 62, affect 2 million

Floods kill 62, affect 2 million

flood.jpg
flood.jpg

Villagers from Lvea Em district, across the Mekong, wait for food at a ceremony in Tuk Khleang Oct 15 handing over 94 tonnes of rice funded by Hong Kong banker Shayne Hefferman. It was the second flood relief drop arranged by Asian Outreach.

The flooding that struck Cambodia in September affected more than 2 million people

and caused 62 confirmed deaths, a report released October 19 stated. Around 1 million

people were either evacuated from flooded areas or required extra food supplies.

The report from the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) noted that

more than half the country's 24 cities and provinces were affected by flooding in

2001.

NCDM vice president, Nhim Vanda, estimated that this year's floods would cost the

country around $35 million, well below last year's figure of around $160 million.

However, he said that a final cost would not be available until December.

Jean Claude Levasseur, country representative for the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization,

said that assessing the cost of flood damage was difficult.

The NCDM report stated that almost 140,000 hectares of rice fields had been destroyed,

with another 180,000 damaged. Levasseur announced that the FAO signed a deal with

the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries October 26 to supply $400,000

worth of rice seedlings to the worst affected.

He warned that deforestation in the watershed regions upriver in China and Laos meant

that future years would see more severe and more frequent flooding.

"Another more important reason is global warming. As the atmosphere becomes

hotter we can expect more flooding," he said.

Last year's Demographic and Health Survey stated that 84 percent of Cambodia's population

lives in rural areas. The FAO project proposal report stated that most of these grow

rice, with 85 percent of the crop grown in the wet months of July to October, making

a successful crop "of paramount importance" to the country's food security.

The NCDM report also listed extensive damage to roads, bridges, schools, temples

and livestock.

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