Lieng Chrep lives in Veal Prov, a village in the Cambodian province of Prey Veng. She is 38, and she and her husband have four children. Last year her village was flooded by heavy rain from Cyclone Wutip in late September.
Before the floods came, Lieng was worried that their house wasn’t strong enough to withstand the flooding. She was right; when she returned home, their house had fallen down. Her family was also without money, food or rice seeds to plant for the next harvest.
CARE provided emergency assistance to people in Veal Prov: a 25kg sack of rice, and items such as buckets, soap, washing powder, sanitary items and water purification sachets. “When CARE came, we had no food. The rice we received lasted for two weeks, and the water treatment sachets meant that our children did not get diarrhea from dirty water,” said Lieng.
After the food ran out, her husband started fishing; they caught and sold the fish in the village, which enabled them to have food and money to buy rice. Lieng was also able to ask her relatives for help to rebuild her house; they gave her bamboo to make it stronger, which she paid for by cutting and selling wood.
She is also lucky that she has been provided with an ID poor card by the government. This acts as official recognition of her financial circumstances and allows her to access medical care at the health centre free of charge—very important for Lieng as she would not have been able to afford medicines when her children became sick.
Lieng is now preparing for the upcoming rainy season. Each day she cuts and sells more wood, to enable her to buy rice; she aims to have between 4-10kg in storage, which would last their family around ten days. But it is difficult; her family still needs to eat some of the rice that she buys each day. They do not have any savings, and they must also pay to send their children to school.
Flood-affected villages like Veal Province are part of a new ECHO-funded CARE project that helps people to recover from the floods by making an income. CARE provides cash and training to enable people to start small businesses. The project also provides information and key messages about how to be better prepared for future flooding and other disasters, so that people can reduce the risks and impacts on their families.