Tzu Chi Foundation held rice distribution to 888 households in flood-hit Cambodia

News and Press Release
Originally published

Tzu Chi volunteers on December 4 distributed rice, oil and other necessities to 888 needy households in the capital Phnom Penh; all live below the poverty line. Volunteers came from Singapore and Malaysia and were joined by 120 enthusiastic local volunteers. Every household received a set of goods, including heat rub, 15 kilograms of rice, 5 kilograms of cooking oil, 15 packets of vegetarian instant noodles and one kilogram each of sugar and salt.

In 1994, due to the long-term drought, the heavy rain caused severe flood in Cambodia; with the poor harvest, people suffered from food shortages. On December 8, 1994, Tzu Chi held a three-day distribution, which benefited over eighty-four thousand people, and donated one hundred water pumps to Battambang province.

Since September this year, Cambodia has been hit by severe flooding because of the overflowing of the Mekong River. The flooding has hit 17 of the country's 23 provinces and turned Phnom Penh into a pond, affecting 1.2 million people. It has severely damaged bridges and roads and forced people to use boats when they leave their homes.

On November 29, at 2 p.m., volunteers went to the Chroy Chongvar district to survey the distribution site and gave out coupons to the recipients in the villages. They found that, although the level of the Tonle Sap river had receded, the main road was still covered with water and piles of trash piled up on the side. They faced the next challenge; with many of the villages still flooded, how could they go in? They borrowed space in a roadside cafe and asked the villagers to come. Since one village was still under water, they had to rent boats to distribute the coupons for each household; the villagers were surprised to receive them. The next day, November 30, they went to another village, where the residents lined up in an orderly and patient way. They put the young volunteers from Phnom Penh in charge of record and verifying the forms and distributing coupons. On December 1, 900 sets of relief goods were stored in place properly.

The day before the distribution, at the request of the assistant village chief, 50 residents of the Chroy Chongvar District came to clean the distribution site; they weeded the lawn and collected trash. Working with one heart and mind, recipients and donors joined together to complete successfully the distribution on December 4.

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