Floods in Cambodia displaced over 150,000 people who sought refuge on high ground and along national highways, while leaving others stranded and unable to flee the appalling conditions left by the rising waters.
In total, the flooding affected over 1.6 million people, including 700,000 children, and contributed to over 250 deaths. While some families were able to go back home, over 30,000 households were displaced and unable to return because their houses had been damaged or washed away.
The flooding struck Cambodia just before the crucial rice harvest season. Farmers lost some 320,000 hectares of rice, as well as essential livestock. The impact on agriculture and primary livelihoods left thousands of families who depend on farming for day-to-day subsistence without food stocks or a means of income. The rural poor were among the hardest hit.
The emergency affected many communities already made vulnerable by food insecurity and high levels of malnutrition. Nutrition among children under age 5 was a particular concern, given the loss of household food stocks. These problems were further compounded by the difficulty of accessing health clinics, and the resulting lack of health care for people needing it. Hygiene and sanitation levels quickly deteriorated as the floodwater spread, destroying household latrines and contaminating sources of drinking water. Wells required extensive rehabilitation and chlorination to make the water safe for consumption.
In response, WFP received $2.5 million from CERF to distribute 2,914 metric tons of food in the most severely affected areas. UNICEF received $965,000 to provide emergency education for children and adolescents, and clean water and sanitation to communes, schools and health facilities. FAO received $219,000 for agricultural assistance to flood-affected farmers, including the procurement and distribution of improved varieties of vegetable seeds for food production, and the replacement of hand tools used in cultivation. CERF allocated more than $342,000 to IOM for the distribution of shelter materials and non-food items to assist displaced households.
More than $4 million was provided by CERF for flood-affected populations in Cambodia in November 2011. Guided by United Nations assessments conducted with local government authorities and NGO partners, CERF rapid response funds were able to target the most vulnerable people.
CERF funds enabled WFP to provide 21,500 households with essential food for 3 months - from December 2011 to February 2012 - rather than the 2 months initially planned.
CERF funds helped IOM provide essential shelter materials and non-food items, including tents and plastic sheets, to 5,000 displaced households, or some 25,000 individuals, in the most affected districts.
CERF-supported FAO activities helped some 10,000 flood-affected farming families resume their livelihoods and improve the availability of food in local markets.
- More than 100,000 people, including 40,000 children, accessed clean water and sanitation facilities through CERF-supported UNICEF projects.
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22 families have been displaced and moved to a school and pagoda, the only high ground in the village. Surrounded by water the closest town with road access is 5km over water.© UNICEF Cambodia
"CERF allowed UN agencies in Cambodia to respond quickly and in a timely fashion to the needs of approximately 450,000 people who were most affected by the floods in 2011. CERF allowed the UN in Cambodia, working as one, to provide aid in key life-saving areas."
- UN Resident Coordinator in Cambodia, Douglas Broderick