US gives aid to flood victims

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
WFP country director Clare Conan (left), at a press conference on Tuesday with US Ambassador Patrick Murphy (centre). The US has donated humanitarian aid for poor families affected by flooding. Hean Rangsey

The US is providing $600,000 in additional humanitarian aid to the World Food Programme (WFP) to help poor Cambodian families affected by last month’s severe floods.

US ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy on November 24 said the rain-induced flooding in early October left thousands of poor families in dire straits, damaging their homes, food and crops.

“We were moved by the significant needs of many vulnerable Cambodian people, brought on by this year’s floods,” he said.

In early October, the US government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), provided $100,000 in aid to the WFP to buy food for the poorest families in the hardest-hit areas of Pursat province. The latest round of humanitarian assistance was also provided through USAID.

Murphy added that the WFP was fulfilling its responsibilities in responding to the floods in Cambodia and in a spirit of solidarity with the flood-affected communities.

“The United States has provided more than six times the initial relief assistance to WFP to support flood relief programs in some provinces,” he said.

Claire Conan, the new WFP country director for Cambodia, had encouraged USAID to provide additional aid to help flood-affected families in Cambodia.

“This assistance will be critical to their recovery, especially since many of them also suffer from the effects of the pandemic. [The] WFP will work closely with the government and partners in this new phase of the floods response,” Conan said.

According to Conan, the additional financial assistance will be provided to about 4,000 poor families in the three provinces most affected by the floods: Pursat, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey.

“The budget package is for four months, with each family receiving $30 a month. This cash package is only for families who are really poor,” she told The Post.

She added that the $100,000 that USAID initially provided to the WFP was used to distribute emergency food and supplies to more than 2,560 families in Pursat province.

In addition, USAID assistance to the WFP has strengthened the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) information system. This contributed to NCDM’s ability to monitor risks and impacts as the flooding occurred and to quickly mobilise resources to respond in affected areas.

Since 2000, USAID has provided nearly $13 million in disaster response, preparedness, and risk reduction assistance in Cambodia. Throughout 2020, the US is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.