Cambodia floods 2011: how we helped

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In September 2011, Cambodia experienced its worst flooding in more than a decade. Over 1.7 million people were affected; about 50,000 households were forced to flee the rising waters and 247 people lost their lives.

The flooding also contaminated safe drinking water supplies, leaving families at high risk of severe diarrhoea and other diseases. Simultaneously, in many areas health centres were flooded, exacerbating the spread of disease.

The tide of water also destroyed the rice crops of many small-scale and subsistence farmers, who rely on their fields for survival.

Christian Aid: rapid response

Emergency packs Christian Aid worked with other international agencies including Danish Church Aid to mount an emergency response to the flooding.

We quickly secured €950,000 from the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Office (ECHO) to meet emergency food, health and livelihood needs for 22,266 families.

We distributed emergency food packages of rice, cooking oil and salt to 13,883 households.

We gave out WASH packs of rehydration kits, water purification tablets and soap, and at each distribution centre ran workshops so that people knew exactly how to use the kits to prevent dehydration and disease.

Because clean water sources had been contaminated by flood waters, we are also cleaning up more than 900 wells, so that people have drinking water for the future, not just today.

Finally, 2,860 families who have access to land were given rice seeds of a special fast-growing variety, so that they can recoup some of their losses as soon as possible. And 6,648 households who do not have access to land are receiving small cash grants to help them start income-generating activities such as chicken breeding.

Partnership: working with others

Christian Aid believes that partnership is the only way that we can hope to achieve the huge task of eradicating poverty.

Our work in Cambodia, including our response to the recent flooding, is a shining example of how working with others enables us to be more effective.

Since 1998, we have run a joint programme in Cambodia with Danish Church Aid . This means that we can pool resources and expertise in order to have a bigger impact while being more cost efficient.

And when the floods happened, the Christian Aid/ Danish Church Aid office took the lead role in a larger consortium of organisations (Concern Worldwide, Action Aid Cambodia, People in Need, and Cesvi) so that our response was coordinated.

This way of working enabled us to reach the greatest number of people across the areas worst-affected by the flood; in short, to bring the greatest amount of help and hope to the poorest people - which is exactly what we exist to do.