The US government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided an additional $875,000 in humanitarian assistance for the World Food Programme (WFP) to strengthen preparation and response to natural disasters in Cambodia.

In a press statement released by WFP on April 1, US ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy said that last year’s devastating floods demonstrated how important it was to be ready for natural disasters.

“This funding from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance will enable the UN World Food Programme to further build upon the successes of its ‘Innovations for Risk Informed Emergency Preparedness and Response’ project – which USAID began supporting in 2019 – through March 2022,” he said.

WFP country director in Cambodia Claire Anne Conan thanked USAID for this additional support to Cambodia, which faced recurrent, climate-related disasters such as floods and droughts.

“This assistance will help government partners and humanitarian groups at the national and sub-national level to better prepare for and respond to these events by increasing the use of information for early action and enhancing humanitarian coordination,” she said.

National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) spokesman Khun Sokha said the WFP assistance would help the government aid drought victims and the poor.

“The WFP has helped people with food including the poor. This assistance was not only provided through NCDM, but also through other institutions involved in this work,” he said.

Chou Chea, WFP communication and report officer in Cambodia, told The Post on April 1 that this assistance would be used for existing mechanisms to enhance the national disaster management information system – Platform for Real-Time Impact and Situation Monitoring. It will be spent on increasing the platform’s ability to monitor climate-related problems, estimate their impact on the population and target emergency assistance to where it is needed most.

The WFP, she said, will support an existing early warning flood system called EWS1294 to help expand its coverage and strengthen the ability of local officials and at-risk communities to use the information to save lives.

WFP will also continue its support for the Humanitarian Response Forum (HRF), an interagency, multi-sector platform that facilitates emergency preparedness and response activities among humanitarian groups to complement the government’s nationally-led activities.

She added that the assistance would also help existing projects for a year starting April.

Last year, the US donated $700,000 to WFP to help flood-affected communities in Cambodia.

Cambodia suffered prolonged floods in 2020 with the capital and at least 18 provinces across the countries impacted, causing 25 deaths and affecting more than 300,000 people, according to NCDM report released last October.