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

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the