Cambodia: Disaster Situation Report 01-17 Aug 2002

Situation Report
Originally published
1. General Situation

1. Varying Disasters

Year 2002, varying natural disasters have been occurring in Cambodia, particularly droughts and floods. Comparing to last several years these calamities have affected social economy, public infrastructure, household properties, human lives, health and national cultural properties. At the same time, they retard efforts and the paces of country development.

Floods have increasingly occurred in the world, mostly in central Europe such as Russia Federation, Iran, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, and Turkey. Some of those European countries, for instance, Germany, Austria and Turkey had not experience of flood for hundred years. In Asia, floods also have affected several countries. Those countries are; People's Republic of China, Japan, the Philippines, India, and Nepal, etc. Whereas droughts have been brutally hitting South Africa for five years so far. Moreover, southern part of Australia, the Philippines, and Texas State of the United States, India, Taiwan and seven provinces in central part of Viet Nam are now under the drought strike. These disastrous catastrophes are causing 50 million people facing food shortages. Meanwhile, forest fires also consecutively took place in the United States and Turkey. All above phenomena rooted from changes of weather and environment in the region as well as in the world that generate difficulties to the governments of those countries in response to the need of people and alleviate their livelihood.

In Cambodia, up to 17 August 2002, drought was still threatening farming activities of people. Although, several provinces around Tonle Sap Lake and along Mekong River had average rainfalls mostly for cultivation, Kampong Spue, Takeo, Kampot, and Kandal Provinces had very little rainfall that only 10% to 15% of seedlings and transplants were able to survive and slowly grow.

2. Flood

Tonle Sap Lake is still capable to absorb water from the Mekong River, while Bassac and Lower Mekong Rives are also flowing their courses downstream continually. But on 17 August 2002, water level in Stung Treng Province was observed as became rising up to 10.70 meters, the warning level, due to break of a medium-sized dam in Thailand, heavy rains in Laos, repeated rainfalls in the northeast region of Cambodia. Within this, if there is bigger magnitude of water brought from China through the Mekong, there will be another threat Cambodia. Yet, Se San and Sre Pok Rivers still have not signified any threats from the Ya Ly hydroelectric dam of Viet Name up till now. Water level of Mekong River, 17 August 2002:

Stung Treng: 10.70 m
Warning level: 10.70 m
Flooded level: 11.90 m

Kratie: 21.82 m
Warning leve1:22.00 m
Flooded level: 22.90 m

Kg Chain: 15.18 m
Warning level: 15.20 m
Flooded level: 16.00 m

Phnom Penh: 9.20 m
Warning level: 10.50 m
Flooded level: 11.20 in

The provinces where having enough water for farming are Koh Kong, Sihanuk Ville, Stung Treng, Kratie, Rattankiri, Mondul Kiri, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, and Kep City. People in those provinces are now energetically planting their short-term rice before the end of wet season.

3. Drought

Drought is continuously extending and threatening Kampong Speu, Takeo, Uddor Mean Chey, and Kampot Provinces. Some rains fell in these provinces, but just enough for the existing seedlings and transplants to survive. In other provinces, some districts are still being affected by drought and may be affected by potential flood, like; four districts in Kandal Province (Khsach Kandal, Ponhea Leu, Ang Snoul, and Kandal Stung), two districts in Svay Rieng (Chantrea and Kampong Ro), seven districts in Prey Veng (Kampong Trabek, Preah Sdach, Baphnom, Kamchay Mear, Prey Veng, Kanchreach and Sithor Kandal), three districts in Kampong Chain (Banheay, Cheung Prey and Prey Chhor), four districts in Banteay Mean Chey (Thmor Pouk, Malay, Svay Chek, Or- chov), three districts in Battambang (Rattanak Mondul, Banan and Mong Russey), three districts in Siem Reap (Sautnikum, Chikreng and Prasat Bakong), two districts in Pursat (Veal Veng and Kravanh), but in Veal Veng District people grow only high-land rice and Kampong Chhnang, only communes share the boundaries with Odong District of Kampong Speu were affected whereas several areas suburb of in Phnom Penh were affected, Khan Mean Chey and western region.

4. Cultivating Activities

Comparing to year 2001, growing of main seasonal crop (long-term rice) this year was excessively late due to lack of rainwater and some of seedling grown in the early stage of the season were damaged. Rains had fallen few days ago saving some existing seedlings and transplants and people are now collecting those seedlings and transplanting them where there are enough water, although some stalks of those seedlings are rather old.

Seasonal calendar for long-term rice cultivation is almost over and people performed self-help with any possible means. As long as there are rainfalls, they protect the existing rice that have been planted, push the short-term rice plantation and prepare for a dry season rice production with other subsidiary crop. For this time, rice seed is most important and indispensable. Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fishery has been working very closely with people down in the communities and already distributed rice seeds to some provinces where people lacked of seeds.

From the beginning of the year, drought covered 24 provinces-municipalities throughout Cambodia, but now it becomes decreasing because of the recently continual rainfalls. Rains have fallen continually though not as much as needed for certain areas, but could save some seedlings, transplants and scattered rice.

a. Provinces where had enough water for crop growing:

Kampong Thom, Kratie, Stung Treng, Koh Kong, Rattanakiri, Mondulkiri, Kep City and Sihanuk Ville.

b. Province where had average water for some crop growing:

  • Siem Reap, except three districts (Sautnikum, Chikreng and Prasat Bakong)

  • Banteay Meanchey, except districts of Svay Chek, Tmar Pouk, Malay, and Or- chrov. This province has grown scattered rice better than last year.

  • Battambang, except districts of Rattanak Mondul, Banan and Mong Russey. Scattered rice is growing well this year.

  • Pursat, except Kravanh andVeal Veng districts

  • Kampong Chain, except Batheay, Chueng Prey and Srey Santhor

  • Svay Rieng, except Chantrea, Kampong Ro. Other districts have enough seedlings and farming activities are proceeding well.

  • Phnom Penh, except Khan Russey Keo and eastern part of Kap Srov Dam. c. Provinces severely affecated by drought with little crop Lyrowing

  • Kampong Speu has very little rainfall. Nearly all districts were dried out, except those areas locate along Prek Thnoat Stream.

  • Takeo, nearly all districts were affected by drought except Borey Chulsa, Koh Andet, and Angkor Borei Districts where were contributed tributary water by Mekong River.

  • Kandal, Ksach Kandal, Ponhea Leu, Angsnoul, and Kandal Stung were dried out except rice fields near Prek Thnoat and others locate near Mekong River.

  • Prey Veng, 7 districts among 12 were affected by drought and the rests were able to grow not much rice.

  • Kampong Chhnang, was severely affected by drought, but now a lot of rains have fallen except two districts near Kampong Speu Province. Other areas locate along Tonle Sap Lake have no any problems.

  • Kampot, all districts along Road no. 3 were dried out, except Kampot, Kampog Bay, and Kampong Trach that had some water and could grow average rice crop.
In general, rice cultivation rate totally is different from one province to another. Some province accomplished almost 100%, some about 50% and others just about 10% of rice-crop production plan. Amongst 2,167,000 hectares land planned for crop production in year 2002, only 693,529 hectares or 32% of the total cultivating land have been accomplished farming up to August 14, 2002. Throughout Cambodia, 55 districts-khans consist of 551 communes-sangkats were affected by drought.

5. Other secondary hazardous threats

There were some scarlet fever of cows and buffaloes in Kampong Chain, Kampot and Prey Veng, but Veterinarian Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery has taking care and giving medication to those animals in those provinces. One 13 August, 2002, some people among 223 families consist of 1,145 were reportedly poise by eating maniocs and local authority is giving treatments, investigating the cause root and will report to NCDM.

II. Response and Coordiantion

1. Response

Per order of Samdech Prime Minister, the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), Cabinet and Unit Force of Samdech, Cambodian Red Cross, Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fishery, other concerned ministries and agencies have delivered foods, fuels, rice seeds, medicines, and other materials together with human forces to intervene and save rice and other supplementary where suffered of lack of water, assist reduce difficulties and alleviate their livelihood by providing food in term of food for work that at the same time people can have food for their daily ration and are able to raise dams, dig canals, dig pond, raise roads, repair and strengthen irrigation schemes. Those assistances were provided to respond to other incidences such as fires and storms according to the request of the communities. NCDM has sent its officials and staff to work closely with the communities and has delivered foods, fuels, sand bags, other equipments and materials to stock up at the Local Cambodian Army Bases and PCDM's warehouse in order to respond immediately to any events of disaster occurrence.

  • Cooperated with H.E the Governor of Svay Rieng Province in supplying foods and fuels to pave new lands for people of 386 families from Dating Commune, Romeas Hek District.

  • Visited and assisted 223 families consist of 1,145 people in Pring and Sre Krasaing Village, Commune Treng Trayueng, Phnom Sruch District who were suffered by poisonous manioc consumption.
United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and other International Organizations (IOs) have been actively implemented their planned programs and coordinated with organization partners that have operation offices in the provincial and local levels in order to observe and monitor the situation and participate in the response activities in communities where disasters occurred. Meanwhile, there were also senators, members of national assembly, members of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), charitable individuals, public officials and public civil servants were also closely observing and attentively contributing resources to cope with these calamities.

2. Coordination

  • Coordinated with The United Nations Disaster Management Team (UN-DMT), Cambodian Red Cross, WFP, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), FAO, ECHO, CARE and other Non-Governmental Organizations to observe, monitor and exchange information sharing on drought situation.

  • Attended a 4-day International Disaster Management meeting in Kobe, Japan, which discussed and accumulated the disaster management works.

  • ECHO donated one vehicle (Land Rover Explorer) to NCDM and will continue to support NCDM capacity building. ECHO also has monitored closely the drought situation.

  • Convoyed IFRC Delegation from Geneva headed by Mrs Susana Soderstrom to visit and observe the drought severity in Treang District of Takeo Province and other places in Kampong Chain Province.

  • Met with FAO Regional Delegation based in Bangkok, Thailand. As a result, FAO will operate one program in Cambodia called "Information on Vulnerability by Food Insecurity and Mapping System", which will assist the RGC through the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fishery (MOFF) with fund for equipment and software and technical skill in developing a map of food insecurity vulnerability in Cambodia. Hope that the program will train some technical staff from MOAFF and NCDM in identifying food insecurity vulnerability and developing map, especially in the provincial and district level.

  • Coordinated with Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Economy and Finance in support for Council of Minister (COM), Ministry of Health and concerned institutions in term of foods, funds, and fuels for using in the activities of response to drought and other catastrophes.

  • Coordinated with Provincial Governors on behalf of provincial authorities and Provincial Committee for Disaster Management (PCDM), district authorities as District Committee for Disaster Management (DCDM) to disseminate information and strengthen the rule of disaster management works and good report.
III. Conclusion and further measures

Until August 17, 2002, crop production activities were late and lower quantity than last year due to lack of rainfalls. Among planned 2,167.000 hectares for rice-crop production, only 32% were accomplished. Now Seasonal long-term rice cultivation is just about to finish. Total harvest will be in very low amount, except for scattered rice and wet season rice in Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Kratie and Svay Rieng. For those districts and communes where were affected by drought will meet food shortages from this October, if there were still no rainfalls by the end of this August.

Further measures should be all ministries, institutions, all levels of authorities collectively mobilize resources including Cambodia Royal Arm Force join working together in order to battle this famine ware by obtaining and providing seeds of short-term rice and other vegetables to those affected people to backup existing resources they have. Encourage people to grow floodwater-chasing rice, short-term rice especially dry season rice crop.

WFP is still a key player. This agency has to concentrate in implementing its existing plans and strengthen its organization partners to change direction to Food For Work Program or whatever other approaches as they can alleviate people from this famine situation.

All levels of local authorities must pay full attention, keep awareness and closely monitor the flow of livelihood of the affected people, particularly those who are affected by drought and flood. Communities locate in remote and rural areas with no or less access or facilities must be more focused and assisted on time of need. Mobilize all forces to produce cooperative seedlings in order to distribute to people where they are able to plant rice. Protect and manage well all the existing water for cultivation and deepen any types of canals if applicable.

August 20, 2002, NCDM will organize and meeting with PCDMs, concerned ministries and institutions including UN, 10s and other NGOs so as to evaluate the situation of disasters and needs and determine coping measure.

Phnom Penh, 17 August 2002
National Committee for Disaster Management

Nhim Vanda
First Vice President