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Cambodia: UN agency delivers urgent food supplies to flood-threatened areas

Cambodia: UN agency delivers urgent food supplies to flood-threatened areas

Cambodian fishermen
Humanitarian Aid
With a new flood season threatening Cambodia, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is sending emergency supplies to some 40,000 people whose homes and food stocks have been washed away.

In a statement issued today in Phnom Penh, the UN agency said it was sending a total of 1,500 metric tonnes of rice - enough to feed each recipient for a month - to Cambodians identified by government disaster management officials as those most severely affected. At the same time, the agency is undertaking missions to assess food needs in the flooded areas so that a bigger operation can be launched, if necessary.

"We have to be prepared for further flooding at this time of year," said Rebecca Hansen, WFP Country Director for Cambodia. "We are concerned because the people needing help have only just now finished rebuilding their communities after the major flood of the Mekong River Delta last year. Their lives are too fragile to withstand all these new shocks."

According to WFP, more than 300,000 people in eastern and southern Cambodia have been evacuated from their homes and are suffering from food shortages. Government disaster management officials estimate that 1.2 million people have been affected in some way by the flooding.

In other news from the region, five countries in the Mekong basin - Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam - have launched a project aimed at reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS among people who travel within and between those countries, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), which supported the launch.

The UN agency said in a statement issued today in New York that the two-year initiative came amid increasing awareness of the link between mobile population groups and transmission of the deadly disease. Groups at risk include truck drivers and others in the transport sector, sex workers, fishermen, migrant factory workers, construction labourers and workers in the entertainment trade.

The countries agreed to facilitate access to HIV/AIDS information and services for mobile population groups and pledged to support collaboration by civil society and local authorities combating HIV/AIDS with their counterparts in neighbouring countries.

The project's launch was supported by UNDP's South-East Asia HIV and Development Project, in cooperation with Cambodia's National AIDS Authority and Ministry of Health.