Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainy season timing blamed

Rainy season timing blamed

Villagers tend to their flooded crops in Kandal province last week
Villagers tend to their flooded crops in Kandal province last week. The National Committee for Disaster Management yesterday warned that though floods are receding, they could return. Heng Chivoan

Rainy season timing blamed

Floods have claimed 45 lives and forced over 11,500 families to leave their homes as of August 19, according to National Committee for Disaster Management vice president Nhim Vanda, who spoke yesterday at a conference in the Cambodiana Hotel dedicated to addressing the problem.

The floods have come early in Cambodia this year. They usually begin around mid-September, like last year, when 168 people were killed.

Vanda said that even though waters are currently receding across the country, it is possible the floods will come back at the end of September and in early October, with potentially devastating results.

“If there are storms and rain like there were in 2013, there will be a high risk of poverty and hardship, the prime minister told me,” Vanda said.

According to Caroline McCausland, country director for Action Aid, if floods come again, farmers affected by the current round could see their food security at risk.

“Many farmers can replant in mid-September, but if the floods come back, it will cause migration and an increased poverty cycle,” she said, adding that no one was certain whether the floods would return.

Claire Van der Vaeren, the UN’s resident coordinator in Cambodia, said this year’s weather has been unusual, with floods coming in early and water shortages affecting 10 provinces along with Phnom Penh.

“This year’s rainy season has the particularity of bringing both flooding and drought, making the role of the National Committee’s task force all the more critical,” Van der Vaeren said.

Some at the conference blamed climate change for the irregular weather and called for aid from richer, high-polluting countries.

“This is surely the impact of climate change. It’s [only] August,” said Cambodian Red Cross director of disaster management Uy Sam Ath.

“If a second flood comes again according to predictions, then it’s not over yet. So we are still in need of support to save people.”

Vanda agreed, saying that Cambodia needed funds to combat extreme weather caused by climate change.

“I don’t blame the powerful countries [for climate change] – if I did they wouldn’t give us assistance,” Vanda said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman