MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing emergency humanitarian assistance of $3 million to work with the Cambodian government to help meet some of its most critical needs in the wake of the country's worst flooding in over a decade.
"The severe flooding has had a dramatic impact on the livelihoods of the Cambodian population, especially poor farmers in remote areas," said Peter Brimble, ADB Senior Country Economist in Cambodia. "Many communities are in urgent need of assistance to reconnect with supply centers and to rebuild their lives."
The grant from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund will be used to supply rice seed to rural households whose crops have been lost, along with food and cash-for-work schemes that will allow affected communities to repair flood-damaged roads. Support will also be given for temporary repairs to irrigation canals.
More than 240 people have died and over 1.5 million have been affected by the flooding along the Mekong and other key rivers over the past two months, which has destroyed or damaged more than 10% of the country's rice crop. Rural roads and irrigation systems have also been badly hit, and the final cost of the devastation is expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
ADB's emergency support will allow rural communities to quickly replant rice while the cash-for-work program will help restore road access to essential services and provide badly-needed jobs. The assistance is being closely coordinated with help provided by other development partners and civil society organizations, including the United Nations Disaster Management Team.
In the longer term, Cambodia will require substantial resources to recover from the disaster, and the ADB has already offered to support the Government in putting together an emergency flood rehabilitation project that will focus on rebuilding roads and irrigation systems.
ADB has also been discussing possible activities to develop data systems and early warning and response mechanisms that would help Cambodia become more resilient to floods, which are expected to worsen in future as a result of climate change.
ADB's Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, established in 2009, provides grants quickly to help developing member countries affected by natural calamities meet their immediate needs. It also helps bridge the gap before longer term post-disaster reconstruction assistance and disaster risk reduction initiatives.