ACT appeal Cambodia: Drought relief ASKH-21

Originally published


Appeal Target: US$ 157,123
Geneva, 15 October 2002

Dear Colleagues,

ACT member Church World Service Cambodia (CWS) reports that the combination of floods and drought are a major concern as the country's most vulnerable populations could face food shortages next year.

The drought in Cambodia is a result of El Nino that has broken up the monsoon clouds causing a severe drought in the provinces. Up to the end of June there was no rain or insufficient rain for crop production. More than 1.5 million people over 9 provinces were affected by the drought and officially only 35% of cultivated areas have been planted with rice as against the amount planned, although this figure is reported to have now increased to 50%. Late rains have brought some relief to eight drought stricken provinces, but extensive flooding in another five provinces has affected more than one million people.

In mid August, the effect of heavy rainfall, monsoon flooding and storms in the upper region and in the neighbouring countries, Thailand and Laos caused the water level in the Mekong River to rise. Consequently, flooding occurred in 40 districts of 6 provinces and affected some 470,000 persons, some of whom had to be evacuated to safer areas.

In the working areas of ACT member Church World Service Cambodia (CWSC) - Svay Rieng, Kompong Thom, Battambong and Bantey Meanchhey - initial damage and needs assessments were carried out and it was found that the seedlings were severely damaged.

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

The following proposal for both flood and drought relief (in the form of food for work) responds to the needs expressed by the vulnerable people in the CWS working areas and confirmed by local NGO partners. The assistance is intended to assist agricultural recovery through transplanting or re- planting where there is enough rainwater. Furthermore secondary crop production will be encouraged and supported in the areas where there has been little rainfall so that people will have additional food to eat.

Project Completion Date: 30 April 2003

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested (US$)

Total Appeal Target(s)
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
Balance Requested from ACT Network

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

For further information: ACT Web Site address:

Ms. Geneviève Jacques
WCC/Cluster on Relations
Thor-Arne Prois
Robert Granke
LWF/World Service


  • Church World Service (CWS Cambodia)


CWS began its work in Cambodia in 1979, just after the expulsion of the Khmer Rouge from Phnom Penh by Vietnamese troops. Work was carried out in the form of relief assistance through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Rehabilitation work followed through the Ministry of Agriculture with CWS providing technical assistance and material aid in the agricultural sector (agronomy, hydrology, and veterinary). In 1992, after the Paris Peace Agreement was signed paving the way for the UN peacekeeping mission, CWS began to extend its program into more development and community based activities.

Currently, CWS operates Integrated Community Development Projects in 4 provinces of Svay Rieng, Kompong Thom, Battambang and Banteay Meanchhey, focusing its work towards local institution development, especially the support of Cambodian NGOs and CBOs. The Integrated Community Development Project in Kandal Province was recognised officially on 1 July 2002 as an independent agency and local NGO, after 10 years of operation as a CWSC project. It still gets financial support as well as technical assistance from CWSC.

The Emergency Response Project (ERP) of CWS also began in 1992. The project has provided funds and materials for relief and rehabilitation as well as support to vulnerable people nation wide. In addition to working through the project locations, CWS / ERP has worked in co-ordination with other groups such as the Cambodian Red Cross, Christian Churches and Cambodian Non Government Organisations (CNGOs) assisting the most vulnerable of the population including prisoners and victims of domestic violence.

Church World Service Cambodia is a member of ACT and of the Ecumenical Working Group based in Cambodia. CWS has previous experience working with ACT on flood relief and rehabilitation in 1996. In 2000 a joint proposal for flood relief was implemented with another Ecumenical Working Group member. Implementation of the rehabilitation work in the existing CWS projects through local NGOs and Community Based Organisations were also submitted and approved by ACT.



The drought in Cambodia is a result of El Nino that has broken up the monsoon clouds causing a severe drought in the provinces. Up to the end of June there was no rain or insufficient rain for crop production. More than 1.5 million people over 9 provinces were affected by the drought. According to official information only 35% of cultivated areas has been planted with rice as against the amount planned, although this figure is reported to have now increased to 50%. Late rains have brought some relief to eight drought stricken provinces. However, extensive flooding affected another five provinces and more than one million people.

The late arrival of season rains is seriously impacting agricultural production and thereby the livelihoods of the rural poor. Growing of the main seasonal crop was excessively late due to lack of rainwater and seedlings grown in the early stage of the season were damaged or perished. By 20 August it was estimated that 31% of the 1,609 communes had been unable to plant the rice crop. Cambodia normally plants up to 2.0 million hectares of wet season rice but only 700,000 hectares have been planted this year. (National Committee for Disaster Management as of 2 August).

As of 29 August, the rains have arrived but still 333 communes in 62 districts in the 8 provinces of Takeo, Kompong Speu, Kandal, Kampong Cham, Svay Reing, Oudar Meanchhey, Pursat and Battambong have not received enough rain water for rice production. The Provincial Committee of Disaster Management reported that drought had affected some 335,800 families consisting of 1,582,337 people. Damage to seedlings was reported in 20,502 hectares while 47,788 hectares with transplanted rice have also been reported affected.

In the CWS target areas, especially Svay Rieng, drought seriously impacted the seedlings - resulting in stunted growth and/or withering. Those that were ready could not be transplanted due to lack of enough water. The rice fields, which are normally full of rainwater at this time of the year, now look yellow and dry. From the assessment report by staff in SVR, there are 3 districts - Kompong Ro, Romeas Hek and Romdoul which have been severely impacted by the lack of rain since June this year. Only 50 to 60 % of 180,000 hectares of land could be cultivated this year.

In Banteay Meanchhey Province, three districts are reported severely affected - Timor Pourk, Svay Chhek and Phnom Srok. From the assessment carried out by CWS staff in BTB and BMC 4, 785 hectares of seedlings were reported damaged. Last year at this time already 167,768 hectares were fully transplanted. In Battambong, amongst 13 districts, there were 6 districts namely Mong Reussey, Bovel, Koh Krolo, Ek Phnom, Thmor Kol and Banan which were also severely affected by drought from the assessment done by staff in BTB/BCM .


Simultaneously, in mid-August, the provinces along the Mekong River were threatened by flooding due to the effect of heavy rainfall, monsoon flooding and storms in the upper region and in the neighbouring countries of Thailand and Laos. The water level in the Mekong River rose alarmingly flooding 40 districts of 6 provinces. OCHA reported on 25 September that over 1,470,000 people in 365 communes were affected and 29 people had lost their lives due to the floods. Over 470,000 people now face food shortages.

Current situation

Rainfall has not been sufficient to produce the expected rice crop production. Cultivation of rice has only been undertaken in an estimated 800,167 hectares which is only equal to 36.77 % of the planned 2,167,000 hectares of land for rice crop production NCDM.

This is much lower than rice production achieved during the same period in the last year 2001. In Kompong Speu, Takeo and other provinces, the drought severely affected 51 districts amongst 185 districts or 551 communes amongst 1,621 communes throughout the country NCDM. The long-term rice cultivation is about to finish and there is little hope of saving the seedlings for transplanting.

Water levels have started to recede in most provinces, however, it is expected that levels, which are currently higher than the alarm stages (Mekong River Commission 30 August) in lower lying provinces Prey Veng, Kompong Cham and Kandal will remain high for some weeks. 1,000 families who had been evacuated in the Northern Eastern Province of Kratie have begun to return to their homes and water levels in Steung Treng have dropped below flood level.

The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), the Cambodian Red Cross and the concerned Ministries have delivered food (food for work), fuel, rice seeds (2,600 tons) and other materials together with human power to intervene and assist the most vulnerable.

The Prime Minister and President of the NCDM appealed to all Government officials, Public Servants, International Organisations, United Nations Agencies, International Organisations Cambodian Red Cross Society and Non Governmental Organisations to support the emergency relief and recovery.

Location for Proposed Response to drought and flood

Province Drought Affected District NGOs Organizations other than CWS
Svay Rieng Roum Doul
Romeas hek
Kompong Ro
Svay Chrum
Battambong Mong Roeussey
Koh Krolo
Ek Phnom
Thmor Kol
CWS only works through CNGOs partners in this province LWS, WFP, CRC, PDMC
Bantey Mean Chhey Thmor Pourk
Svay Chek
Phnom Srok
CWS works through CNGOs WFP, CRC, PDMC. CWS only works through CNGO partners in this province
Kompong Thom Steung Sen
Kompong Svay
Kompong Ro
Phnom Penh CWS will work through NCDM
Kandal Lvea Em
Mouk kampoul
Prey Veng Mesang
Ba Pnom
Kratie Kratie
Prek Prasap


The overall aim is to assist the most vulnerable and needy of the affected population to recover by enabling them to work and save what may be left of their crops and to enable the communities to be better prepared to deal with emergencies in the future.


  • To provide Food for Work Programme for community infrastructure repair: ponds, wells, house repair/reconstruction

  • To provide short-term rice seeds and other planting materials such as vegetable seeds, cassava, sweet potatoes, corn.

  • To build the capacity of CWS respective communities and CNGOs partners to establish appropriate disaster preparedness and response plans.

  • To work in co-ordination with the NCDM at the provincial and central levels to build their confidence and competence in their role as the nations lead agency for disaster preparedness and response.

(in pdf* format)