Six safe evacuation centres (SECs) have been handed over to local communities in Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom and Pursat provinces ahead of the rainy season peak, according to a joint press release on May 21.
The centres are meant to provide appropriate emergency shelter to communities at potential risk of floods and other natural disasters.
The handover ceremony was conducted by the Japanese embassy in Phnom Penh, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).
Able to accommodate 2,000-3,000 people, the SECs were built in accordance with recognised international standards, each with a large hall, a kitchen, a laundry room, a storage room, bathrooms, a handwashing station, a livestock shelter and a large open field.
Each site is equipped with water supply components such as tube wells, water storage and containers, a solar electric system with a generator, as well as a lightning protection system.
Speaking during the ceremony, deputy chief of mission at the Japanese embassy Atsushi Karimata said: “Through this humanitarian support, we would like to stay close to the Cambodian people as they attempt to overcome this difficult situation.
“We hope that this project will further strengthen the friendly relationship that exists between the two countries.”
WFP representative Claire Conan thanked the Japanese government for its “invaluable support”.
She said: “With this generous support, WFP and NCDM have constructed and equipped these six safe evacuation centres to protect people during floods and other natural disasters and serve as a space to serve the community at other times.
“There are times in life which are difficult and having a place where we can take refuge and feel safe is essential. We hope that these centres will provide that protection for thousands of Cambodians.”
Srey Nal, a commune chief and community representative, thanked the Japanese government for its financial support and the two implementing organisations, WFP and NCDM, for the accomplishment.
“We will take good care of these facilities so that they can in turn take good care of us in hard times,” he said.
The Japanese government has been a “significant partner” to WFP's work in the Kingdom since 1998, providing $22 million in the last 10 years to improve food security and nutrition through cash contributions and in-kind support, such as rice and canned fish, as well as to support the development of emergency preparedness and response.