Sam Bok Chab is no stranger to disaster, but when floods engulfed her village in 2011 her family was left desolate with their crops destroyed and their palm wood house damaged. Sam Bok recalls “I was afraid, the flood was terrible, it was strong”.
Sam Bok’s husband died of lung disease and she has been a widow for 20 years, bearing the responsibility of supporting her family alone. She also lives with a disability as she lost her leg to gangrene and now has a prosthetic leg which impacts her mobility. Sam Bok helps to support her three children and grandson, even prior to the floods it was a challenge to make ends meet. The flood has pushed her family further into poverty as they have very little food at home to eat and their prospects for growing food are gone following the destruction of their crops.
Sam Bok describes the family’s situation, “The flood was serious and it destroyed my rice filed. All the paddies were ruined from long days of flooding; the water reached chest height”.
CARE responded quickly to this situation and partnered with Sam Bok’s community to provide emergency food for vulnerable households, supplied seeds to replant vital crops and developed a cash for work scheme to give families income opportunities through rebuilding vital infrastructure, such as roads, affected by the floods.
Sam Bok was one of over 1.2 million people affected by the floods in Cambodia, which also destroyed 10 per cent of crops. It was important that CARE’s emergency response supported the community immediately after the flood to address pressing needs, but also worked with them to help restore their livelihoods in the longer term.
Sam Bok received 20k of rice seed to plant, and since the flood, has managed to subsidise her income making handicrafts to sell. She has also been eligible for food support from CARE, receiving the provision of vital food supplies for the family each month until crops can be harvested again. The food distributed includes rice, vegetable oil, tinned fish and fortified blended food. At a local distribution point Sam Bok reflects upon what this means for her family and young grandson, she says “I am very happy to be taking this food home today”.
Cooking instructions are also provided at the community food distribution point, so families can get the most nutritional benefit from the emergency food supplies.
Sam Bok remains optimistic following the floods she says “I hope that after harvest, I can get some rice and keep some for the next season.” The next harvest will provide important food for the family, but also allow Sam Bok to plant again and get her family back on their feet.
CARE’s flood response in Cambodia supported the most vulnerable households including female headed households, those who can’t work and individuals with disabilities. Over 1500 households were supported with food distribution as part of the Vulnerable Group Feeding initiative.