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Floods in Cambodia
Geneva, 11 October 2013
1. Brief description of the emergency
Cambodia is experiencing severe flooding as a result of greater than average rainfall caused by typhoons and other severe weather systems. The Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers are overflowing and 16 of 24 provinces are affected by severe flooding, especially those by major river courses. Flooding has also affected areas in and around the capital city of Phnom Penh.
The flood water in some areas has receded in the past several days along the Mekong River, but is rising in other areas such as Banteay Meanchey, Pursat and Battambang provinces. A major dam in Battambang Province is overflowing its banks, causing widespread flooding in central Battambang province.
Impact: According to the Humanitarian Response Forum (HRF) situation report dated 8 October, more than 700,000 people have been affected by the flooding and approximately 60,000 people are displaced. It is possible that these numbers will increase as the flooding season is not expected to end until late October, and may extend into early November this year. According to the HRF situation report 83 deaths have been caused by the flooding, mostly by drowning. The unofficial death toll is 104 as of 10 October. In one of the most affected provinces, Kratie, 85,000 people have been affected, many of whom are extremely poor. Flooding in the northwest has become so severe that some areas are only accessible by boat.
The most affected people are extremely poor families, many of whom are landless migrant labourers, HIV+, the elderly and orphaned children. It is expected that poor farmers will also be affected in the coming weeks and months as it is expected that agricultural land will be damaged, which may lead to crop failure. According to the HRF situation report, a total of 220,000 hectares of rice crop have been inundated, nearly half of which is in the provinces of Prey Veng, Banteay Meanchey and Battambang (104,000 hectares in the three provinces).
Weather predictions indicate that there could be continued flooding as another major storm system is currently heading toward central Vietnam and could deposit heavy rains across northern Cambodia.
2. National and international response
The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), together with Provincial Committees for Disaster Management (PCDM), UN agencies and NGOs have been conducting joint assessments in several provinces. Assessments have been carried out in 6 provinces, and are currently underway in three provinces. There are plans to conduct assessments in two additional provinces this weekend and early next week. This is the first time that these coordinated assessments have ever occurred.
The Cambodian Red Cross has provided two weeks of food support to approximately 8,000 families in areas most affected by flooding. UNICEF has distributed pre-positioned WASH emergency relief stocks including soap and water filters in Kratie province, where the need is critical. Most of these stocks have been exhausted. Several NGOs have provided food and WASH support; there has also been some limited shelter support for evacuated households. Some education support (school material) has also been provided.
3. ACT Alliance response
ACT Alliance members Church World Service (CWS), Life with Dignity (LWD), DanChurch Aid (DCA) and Christian Aid (CA) along with partners are participating in or have already participated in joint assessments in affected provinces such as Kratie, Ratanakiri, Prey Veng, Battambang, and Banteay Meanchey. Information is closely coordinated through the ACT Cambodia Forum, and any future assistance will be closely coordinated in joint target areas. The ACT Alliance is closely coordinating its actions with government officials, NGOs and other international aid organizations through its participation in the Humanitarian Response Forum and the Cambodian Humanitarian Forum, of which one ACT Alliance partner is co-chair.
4. Planned activities
• CWS, LWD, DCA/CA and partners are currently participating in the joint assessment in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces. Early indications are that there are gaps in WASH support in both provinces, so the response would most likely focus on filling these gaps.
• DCA/CA partner Partnership for the Development of Kampuchea (PADEK) participated in the joint assessment in Kratie province and is requesting sanitation and hygiene kits, food items and hygiene promotion education for 1,465 extremely poor affected families.
• DCA/CA partner Development and Partnership in Action (DPA) conducted an initial assessment on 19th September and is currently participating in the joint assessment. They are planning distribution of food, WASH and shelter items for an additional 389 affected families in Ratanakiri Province. DPA has already completed distribution of these items to 153 affected households in two districts in the province.
Assessments reveal that there are gaps in WASH, and that there will be a need for early recovery with a focus on activities such as well chlorination and food for work for infrastructure rehabilitation and seed distribution. At this time ACT Alliance members are awaiting the results of the joint assessment in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces to make a final determination as to whether an appeal should be submitted, however it is quite possible that one will be forthcoming.
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