Japan commits $2M grant to mitigate flood impacts

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(From left to right) Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami, Ngan Chamroeun, secretary of state for the Ministry of Interior and head of the National Committee for Sub-national Democratic Development (NCDD) and WFP Country Director Claire Conan at a signing ceremony on February 22, 2021.

The government of Japan has committed $2 million to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to counteract the threats posed by flooding to food security and impacted communities across the Kingdom.

The grant was signed on February 22 by Japanese ambassador Masahiro Mikami and WFP Country Director Claire Conan at a meeting presided over by Ngan Chamroeun, secretary of state for the Ministry of Interior and head of the National Committee for Sub-national Democratic Development (NCDD).

Chamroeun recalled that Cambodia was affected by floods in October last year which impacted many households in several provinces, causing severe damage to houses, infrastructure and agricultural lands.

He said that under this project, the WFP would work closely with the NCDD and other partners to conduct a comprehensive food security and nutrition assessment in flood-affected areas.

“The support for community recovery comes through rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure, enhancement of local planning capacity and research into food security, disaster preparedness and mitigation. Sixteen communes in Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Thom provinces will be selected as the project’s target sites,” he said.

Mikami noted that last year, Cambodia suffered continuous and torrential rainfall which affected many residents and resulted in the loss of lives and extensive damage to property.

“I sincerely hope that this project will mitigate the impact of floods on food security of flood-affected households and communities,” he said.

Conan called attention to Cambodia’s history of recurring severe floods, noting there have been four incidents in the past decade. Last October’s floods displaced 14,299 households and otherwise directly affected as many as 176,000 families, or nearly 800,000 people, in 14 provinces.

“We thank the government of Japan for its support to mitigate the effects of last year’s floods. This assistance will be critical to vulnerable families living in flood-prone communities whose livelihoods and food security were affected and will help protect them from future shocks,” she said.

According to a joint press release issued after the signing ceremony, Cambodia ranks 16th out of 181 countries on the 2020 World Risk Index highlighting its proneness and vulnerability to natural disasters.

It said climate shocks such as floods and droughts frequently threaten communities, and their frequency and intensity are likely to increase in the future owing to the effects of climate change and the related degradation of natural resources, which disproportionately affect some of the most impoverished communities.

In 2019, Japan contributed $2.7 million to the WFP to enhance the resilience of Cambodian communities to shocks and build institutional capacity for emergency preparedness.

This support has enabled the construction of six evacuation centres in three flood-prone provinces, facilitated disaster risk management planning at all levels of government and enhanced response capabilities through early warning systems.