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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Flow of flood aid speeds up

Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Sen David and Vincent MacIsaac
Photo by: Meng Kimlong
Red Cross officials hand out aid to villagers yesterday in Prek Russey commune, in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district.
Phnom Penh Post

The Australian government will provide up to AUS$2.5 million (US$2.53 million) in aid to Cambodia as part of an AUS$5.25 grant to flood hit countries in the Mekong region and the Philippines, it said yesterday.

THE European Union will likely follow suit next week with two million euros (US$2.7 million) in emergency assistance for Cambodia, an official with its humanitarian aid department, ECHO, told the Post yesterday.

Funding from Australia aims at providing food, water, shelter and support for repairs, a statement from Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said. The aid would be disbursed through the Red Cross, he said.

The funding from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department follows an assessment made by an ECHO team last week, ECHO’s disaster risk reduction coordinator for Southeast Asia, Cecile Pichon, said.

Pichon said the funding would provide emergency relief for the next six months and would target the most vulnerable families. She said the assessment found there would be long-term effects on livelihoods due to the prolonged flooding.

“Recognising the magnitude of the disaster the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department is very actively examining the mobilisation of a substantial amount of funding to support emergency response in favour of the most vulnerable populations,” Pichon said

“Any funding made available will include financial support to the efforts of NGOs and international organisations in Cambodia,” she said.

Meanwhile, relief agencies and the governmental bodies remained unable yesterday to determine how many people remained in need of emergency relief.

A spokesperson for UNICEF said: “We are not in a position to answer the question on the scope of the flooding … What we do know is that despite efforts already undertaken by government and partners to assess the situation, the extent and severity of impacts resulting from the flooding are still not clear”.

National Committee for Disaster Management president Keo Vy estimated that more than 200,000 families are still waiting for aid, but he could not provide a break down of the numbers by province.

Water levels in Kampong Thom province, the hardest hit province, continued to rise yesterday, shutting down sections of Highway 5, traffic department officials said. In other areas of the country water levels either fell or remained stable yesterday, according to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meterology.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation said that no outbreaks of infectious diseases had been detected in flood-hit areas. Daily surveillance was occurring in flood-hit provinces through the Ministry of Health’s Rapid Response Team of more than 1,000 health volunteers, the WHO said.

“We haven’t detected any outbreaks yet, and believe me we are looking for them,” WHO public health expert Nima Asgari said.

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