Phnom Penh (Agenzia Fides) - A month of monsoon rains and floods in Cambodia has claimed the lives of 168 people, over a hundred thousand homeless in 20 of the 24 provinces of the Country, including some parts of the capital, Phnom Penh (see Agenzia Fides 04/10/2013). More than 1 million and a half people in total have been severely damaged, houses, schools, health centers, roads, bridges and agricultural land have been destroyed.
The humanitarian organization Christian Aid and Dan Church Aid partner Development and Partnership in Action (DPA) have distributed food, hygiene kits and tarpaulins in order to give shelter to 3000 people in the province of Ratanakiri in the north east of the Country. About 80% of the 13 million 800 thousand inhabitants live in rural areas of Cambodia, and the survival of most of them is completely dependent on agriculture. The floods have destroyed 244,000 hectares of rice paddies arousing public concern for food shortages. The Cambodians are very vulnerable to disasters, a quarter of them live below the poverty line and can only rely on a single crop a year. When this is lost, the consequences are very serious. The worst-affected areas are also threatened by water-borne diseases such as dengue and diarrhea. In a Country with a high rate of malnutrition, where about 40% of children suffer from the chronic form of the disease, these preventable and treatable diseases can be fatal, especially for the elderly and children. Humanitarian aid will be used for the most vulnerable people, extremely poor families, especially those run by women, widows, landless migrant farmers, people with HIV and the elderly. Organizations continue in their commitment towards these communities with the aim of making them more resistant to natural disasters, working together with local authorities and communities in order to improve warning systems and evacuation, build more stable house able to safeguard lives and livelihoods. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 29/10/2013)