Monday, November 16, 2009

Typhoon Ketsana Destroyed Over US$140 Million in Cambodia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Nhim Vanda, Senior Minister and Vice-President of the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) said that Cambodia is one of four countries which were seriously affected by the recent Typhoon Ketsana in Asia.

The Senior Minister said that from September 26-October 2, Typhoon Ketsana affected eight provinces, including 73 districts, in Cambodia. These eight provinces were Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Siem Reap, Stung Treng, Rattanakiri, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang and Kratie.

The Senior Minister continued to say that the Ketsana storm also killed a total of 43 Cambodian people, injured 67 people, seriously affected 22,800 families, displaced 6,210 families, destroyed 1, 022 houses, and destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of rice fields in Cambodia.

The natural disaster caused by the Ketsana storm caused over US$140 million in damages, excluding the social and economic effects in Cambodia, according to the NCDM’s estimations.

“This year, Ketsana provided us with a clear lesson learned that natural disasters including flooding, drought, and storms continue to threaten animals, human beings, properties and the economy in Cambodia. We noted that the damage and the loss caused by Ketsana costs a lot for Cambodia, which is a developing country,” he said during his opening remarks at a workshop on “Post Disaster Needs Assessments for Ketsana Recovery and Reconstruction” in Cambodia on November 10.

The Senior Minister pointed out that in response to the damages and losses of Ketsana and the resulting floods, the Royal Government of Cambodian has been working hard to restore and reconstruct the roads, dams and other infrastructure in Cambodia.

The government issued an announcement on October 22 allowing government ministries and institutions to submit project proposals to the Ministry of Finance and Economy to repair roads, rice plantations and other infrastructures which have been affected by the natural disasters this year, he said.

Stephan Guibert, Acting Country Manager of the World Bank (WB), said that the WB would like to extend its appreciations to the agencies which were able to provide immediate emergency assistance following the storm in Cambodia. He added that on October 9, the Ministry of Finance and Economy formally requested that the WB provide emergency assistance, including a detailed assessment of the damages.

The Acting Country Manager continued to say that the National Committee for Disaster Management has also requested that the WB allocate the current GFDRR Trust Fund, designed for Svay Rieng and Prey Veng provinces, to be used for emergency response and early recovery in typhoon-affected provinces.

“As you know, while Ketsana’s impact in Cambodia did not receive as much media coverage domestically as it did in the Philippines and Laos, its immediate impact as well as the direct effects will affect over 180,000 people, or 1.4 percent of the population in this country,” he said. “Many people have dispatched, many families have lost their homes, and the vulnerable groups are as always going to be the most impacted, as their livelihoods have been substantially damaged by the storm and subsequent flooding.”

Stephan said that in order to develop a recovery plan that would ensure future disaster risk reduction, a more comprehensive in-depth assessment of the damage, loss and needs of affected communities would have to be conducted. A multi-agency Post Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA) Team for Cambodia was established to achieve this ambitious objective.

Recovery is not just getting back to normal because this would create the conditions which made people vulnerable to Ketsana in the first place, and it is not simply adding up a grand total of damage and losses, said Stephan, adding that recovery means looking at what conditions made the roads, houses, agriculture, livelihoods, and so on vulnerable to natural disasters in the first place and trying to change the conditions so that this does not happen again.

He added that the PDNA is a process rather than a product and recovery needs to be effectively managed as an integral part of sustainable development in Cambodia. ///



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