Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom touts preparedness

Kingdom touts preparedness

Kingdom touts preparedness

Incheon, South Korea
OFFICIALS have touted a village-level information-sharing programme as an important step in mitigating damage caused by natural disasters, though it has yet to be implemented nationwide.

Speaking on the sidelines of a disaster preparedness conference in Incheon last week, Nhim Vanda, deputy director of the National Committee on Disaster Management, said the so-called “village-level task forces” would endow Cambodians with “the responsibility for implementing tasks in their own communities” when disasters were looming.

“The task force networks at the village level can spread the disaster-related information more quickly to the people in their own community,” he said, and added that they could make it easier for the NCDM and the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology to undertake preparedness and relief efforts.

NCDM Director General Ponn Narith said yesterday that each task force would consist of seven members, including village chiefs, officials from the Cambodian Red Cross, police, health officials and at least one “local businessman”.

He added that the government had first begun forming the task forces in July. “Our plan has been done in 12 provinces already, and we will continue to do all the provinces around Cambodia,” he said.

A United Nations report last week provided the first regional assessment of natural disasters and their effects.

Between 1980 and 2009, the report said, Cambodia recorded 30 natural disasters that resulted in 1,969 deaths and affected 16 million people. Damage from these disasters cost US$518 million.

The report also said that a greater portion of Cambodia’s population was vulnerable to flooding than that of any other country in the region, with 12.2 percent potentially exposed.

Last month’s flooding, which began on October 10, led to at least nine drowning deaths, six of which have been confirmed by the government.

Keo Vy, cabinet chief at the NCDM, said yesterday that a report on the recent flooding had not been finalised, but that officials have previously estimated that it was about half as devastating as Typhoon Ketsana in 2009, which left 43 dead and caused US$132 million in damage.

Tith Sam Oun, the chief of Sak Sampao commune in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, said the village-level task forces had been effective in alerting villagers to threats posed by heavy rains and had allowed them to evacuate their homes on time. But she said there still was not a system in place to provide adequate food and supplies for affected families upon their return. “We have to prepare everything for the villagers,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release