CARE Cambodia continues providing relief to thousands affected by floods
In the wake of Cambodia’s worst floods in over a decade, affecting 1.5 million people, CARE Cambodia is continuing to assist the recovery by delivering essential supplies to the country’s worst-affected communities.
Identifying over 5,200 of the most impoverished households in Kampong Chhnang and Prey Veng provinces, in the country’s centre and south-east, in December and January CARE Cambodia together with local governments, NGOs and the World Food Program, distributed rice, food and blankets, to alleviate some of the disaster’s continuing effects.
“The floods completely destroyed so much,” said Tith Meth, a 69-year-old widow whose rice paddy was inundated beyond salvation.
“Without our rice paddy, I now walk through the village every day, selling cakes I carry in my hat.
“I earn about 4,000 riel ($USD1) a day to give to my family, but it’s not enough. I don’t have any livestock, I don’t have any animals to support my family. Now, my family must support me. I am a burden.”
Country Director Ms. Stav Zotalis said the disaster affected some of the poorest Cambodians, who will have great trouble rebuilding their lives. The majority are farmers with land holdings of up to two hectares, often financed through loans.
“Their livelihood is agriculture, and now they’ve lost their basis for their income,” she said.
“CARE is concerned about the impact of the floods on already poor households with outstanding agricultural and other loans. CARE, along with other NGOs, has commissioned a study into levels of household indebtedness to guide our response and to inform future interventions. This is part of a larger initiative to improve access to affordable finance in rural Cambodia.”
The disaster has claimed 247 Cambodian lives and displaced 70,000 people throughout the region.
“CARE is one of the organisations that works with communities on disaster disk reduction. We’ve helped communities better prepare themselves, and amongst the tragedy we’ve seen some evidence of the success of that capacity building,” Ms. Zotalis said.
For people like Tith Meth, restoring her family’s livelihood is crucial, but food security is immediate.
“I have not slept well since the floods came,” she said.
“Last night I slept very well. I knew that today I would have enough food for my family for a month and a half.
“So even though I have not yet eaten anything, I do not feel sick and I do not feel hungry.
“Today, I feel relief.”