Drought and floods leave over half a million Cambodians in need of food aid, UN reports
A combination of drought and floods in Cambodia has left some 670,000 people there in need of food aid until the end of the year, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today, warning that global climate change could generate persistent food shortages in the years ahead.
WFP Country Director Rebecca Hansen said the new food shortages must serve as a “wake-up call” about the erratic weather patterns that have sabotaged the Cambodian rice crop in affected areas for three years running.
“We need to work intensively on ways to make people less vulnerable to these climatic anomalies,” she said, noting that nearly 10 per cent of all areas have seen either too little or too much precipitation.
Instead of simply distributing food rations to the people in these areas, WFP is providing over 1,700 tons of food for disaster mitigation projects – food-for-work schemes to rehabilitate reservoirs, community ponds, dikes and dams for irrigation. “Water management is crucial to Cambodia’s future, and through food aid we can give thousands of people in rural areas more command over their water supply,” Ms. Hansen explained.
Next year, WFP’s plans for Cambodia will include support for community rice banks and rainwater reservoirs. “It is vital to build these defenses against food shortages in the future,” Ms. Hansen said. “To ignore the threat of climate change is to gamble with people’s lives.”