Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ketsana’s cost estimated at $29m

Ketsana’s cost estimated at $29m

Ketsana’s cost estimated at $29m

Officials warn that estimate may rise after provincial officials gather Friday for final assessment.

Photo by: World Vision and Oxfam
People in Sandan district, Siem Reap province, use boats to navigate floodwaters. At right, villagers in Kampong Thom province survey damaged homes in the aftermath of Typhoon Ketsana.

TYPHOON Ketsana cost Cambodia at least US$29.3 million when it tore through the country with wind speeds of up to 185km/h earlier this month, the National Committee for Disaster Management estimated Monday.

Keo Vy, communication officer at NCDM, said the “primary figure” of $29.3 million may yet increase, as provincial authorities from across the Kingdom will gather Friday in a bid to calculate the exact national cost, he said.

“The figures we have are not exactly right – the cost could be higher when each province files its report because the individual reports will include property damage, too,” Keo Vy said. “We lost most in the agriculture sector,” he said, explaining that 35,681 hectares of paddy fields and 2,071 hectares of other crops were damaged, “but we also lost 229 houses, and we have 641 that need repairing”, he said.

Some villagers in the Stung district of Kampong Thom province have already begun the arduous task of reconstructing their homes, according to World Vision Cambodia communications manager, Haidy Ear-Dupuy.

“Some people have started repairing their houses with metal sheets,” she said Monday, “but some houses still have water underneath them, so those people have not returned from the safe areas yet.”

The initial impact of the typhoon left 24 dead, but as many as 30 more died when severe floods swamped the country in the storm’s aftermath. Further downpours have made recovery efforts painfully slow, relief workers have said.

Kampong Thom province is the most-affected in the Kingdom – about 30,000 hectares of paddy fields and crops were destroyed, according to provincial Governor Chhun Chhorn.

He said the province has not yet calculated the total cost of damage because further rainfall has flooded rural areas and made them hard to reach. “In our province, 17 people died because of the typhoon and flooding,” he said.

More than 20,000 families have received emergency relief from the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC), and on Tuesday, 500 more families will receive food. “We prioritise the most-affected areas,” added Chhun Chhorn.

Uy Sam Ath, director for disaster management at CRC, said Monday that thousands of families have been given immediate assistance. “CRC has already donated food to 2,500 families in Ratanakkiri province and plans to go to Banteay Meanchey province to give food to 800 families on Wednesday,” he said.

On Friday, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered government officials to respond to the needs of people affected. “It must be guaranteed that no one dies of hunger,” he told the Council of Ministers.