Hungry in Cambodia: Flood affected communities are still waiting for food and livelihood assistance

Published: 20th October 2009

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – The hunger period has been prolonged, and people in flood affected communities cannot wait any longer, international aid agency Oxfam warns. Food assistance is not being delivered quickly enough to the affected communities, and thousands of families who are in need of urgent food assistance are still marooned in floodwaters.
Oxfam estimates that 15,000 households are waiting for immediate food assistance, and the number is increasing rapidly as floodwaters continue to recede slowly and many more families have used up their food stocks. Some households who received food assistance earlier were also running out of food for weeks.
"People in the flood affected regions needed food a month ago, and they are still waiting," said Francis Perez, Country Lead of Oxfam International in Cambodia. "Food insecurity is getting worse in the affected communities. Government bodies and international aid agencies concerned with the current situation must start delivering food assistance now."
About 100,000 people are affected by typhoon Ketsana which coincided with annual floods in late September and early October. The storm affected both farmers who own farmlands and those who sell their labour to work on those farms, thus depriving both groups of their livelihoods.
Normally people facing disruptions in their livelihoods in the provinces would have family members migrate to Phnom Penh and other provinces to look for work. But the cities are already flooded with unemployed workers due to the global financial storm that has ravaged the country’s economy. So, that kind of coping strategy to stave off hunger may no longer be available as an option to those displaced by the floods.
Oxfam has been distributing non-food items to about 5,000 families in three hard-hit provinces: Kampong Thom, Kratie and Stung Treng. Recognizing an eminent danger of food shortages among the affected communities, Oxfam has decided to urgently distribute food items to 1,000 families in addition to its non-food assistance. Oxfam continues to coordinate relief assistance with government authorities and other agencies at the national and local levels.


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Government bodies and international aid agencies concerned with the current situation must start delivering food assistance now.
Francis Perez
Country Lead of Oxfam International in Cambodia