||The project will support the Government of Cambodia as it undertakes structural and nonstructural measures to prepare for and manage disaster risks linked to floods and droughts. Project interventions will (i) enhance the regional data, information, and knowledge base for the management of floods and droughts; (ii) upgrade or develop water management infrastructure; and (iii) prepare communities to manage disasters such as floods and droughts, and adapt to climate change. Improved drought management and irrigation water structures in Cambodia will benefit farmers on about 16,000 hectares (ha) of agricultural lands, and at least 10,000 people will benefit from improved flood management.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The Mekong River is a major influence on the lives of the people in Cambodia. Annual floods are a source of livelihood and sustenance, but extreme flood events and droughts cause widespread hardship. The costs to the countries of the Lower Mekong basin (LMB), in terms of loss of life and damage to infrastructure by floods and economic losses from both flood and drought events are significant. In Cambodia, between 1987 and 2007, 15 flood events resulted in over 1,150 deaths, disrupted the lives of over nine million persons, and when combined with losses from five drought events, caused over $465 million in damage to structures and crops. Although the annual average losses are relatively low, floods and drought events cause episodic losses as illustrated by Typhoon Ketsana in September 2009 which resulted in $132 million losses in Cambodia. Flood damage and associated losses were estimated to range from 0.30 to 0.45% of gross domestic product in 2009 in the lower Mekong basin countries.
There is a growing need for improved community preparedness to manage increasingly frequent and severe climatic extremes. Climate change is predicted to increase the frequency of extreme flood events. While drought events do not result directly in deaths or structural damage, the disruption to lives and livelihoods, and the economic loss of agricultural production is substantial and limits the ability of rural communities to avoid poverty. These weather extremes illustrate the growing need for improving community preparedness to manage increasingly frequent disaster risks. Updating of infrastructure design standards will contribute to reducing the risks in Cambodia.
While many of the nonstructural problems of data, warning systems and coordination of agencies are generic to LMB countries, problems related to physical structures, including canals, drains, control structures, are site specific. Flood and drought risk management as well as building communities' resilience are identified as priorities in the national strategic development plans, sector strategies and national climate change adaptation plans.
The proposed investment is one of the flagship programs of the 2002 Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework. Country agriculture and natural resources (ANR) sector assessments have confirmed drought and flood (extreme weather) events as key constraints to economies of the project countries and as contributing factors to persistent poverty in areas affected. Consequently, the proposed Project has two foci: (i) subregional activities to strengthen regional cooperation and integration (RCI) with regard to water resources management in general and flood/drought management in particular, and (ii) in country investments which combine structural and non-structural investments. Together, these will address the key subsector constraint of insufficient disaster preparedness of countries and communities to manage and mitigate the potential impacts of climate extremes.