Heifer Assists Flooding Victims in Cambodia

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Heifer International and World Food Program distribute food aid to flooding victims

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Jan. 18, 2012) – Heifer International is bringing much-needed food aid to families affected by recent flooding in Cambodia. With funding from the World Food Program, Heifer is distributing food to 1,101 families, including many who were not current participants in Heifer projects.

The flooding in Southeast Asia during the rainy season killed more than a thousand people and affected about 9 million more. According to a rapid assessment in Cambodia, 967 Heifer project families were seriously affected by the flood. They lost their animals, their rice paddies were destroyed and 14 houses were damaged.

The Heifer Cambodia team, committed to seeking emergency aid for the victims, submitted a proposal to World Food Program (WFP) for food assistance. After WFP experts conducted a field assessment, they collaborated with Heifer Cambodia to release about $165,000 in food assistance from December 2011 to February 2012.

"Helping poor and vulnerable people is our priority. We were so sad to see the people whose living conditions had just been improved through our projects be devastated by the floods that almost washed away their hope," said Heifer Cambodia director Keang Keo. "Our staff is very happy to see their smiles return through this wonderful partnership with WFP."

The first distribution was held in three separate locations on December 15 and 21 and included education on hygiene and sanitation, so that flood victims can preserve their health after the floodwaters recede. Each flood-affected family received 55 lb. of rice, 12 cans (11.2 lb) of canned fish, 1.35 L of vegetable oil, and 60 packs of high nutrition biscuits. The food will meet the immediate nutritional needs of vulnerable households and support them in recovering from the recent floods.

36-year-old Heifer project participant Riem Kei saw her family's tiny rice plot destroyed by the flooding, along with her home garden and most of the family's chickens. Kei has had to borrow money from her neighbor for food. Her family also has had flood-related health problems, including fever and diarrhea.

"I would like to express my gratitude to Heifer and the WFP for providing me this food assistance," Kei said. "I can feed my whole family for two weeks with this amount of food."