Friday, June 25, 2010

The 16th Cambodia “Disaster Risk Reduction Forum”

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) in collaboration with Plan International has organized the 16th Cambodia Disaster Risk Reduction Forum for two days from the 16th to 17the of June at the Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh.

The purpose of the 16th Cambodia Disaster Risk Reduction Forum is to find solutions, measures and an action plan to prevent climate change in Cambodia, according to the Cambodian Disaster Risk Reduction Forum organizers.

H.E. Nhim Vanda, First Vice-President of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said that the forum is important because it will help pave the way for the Royal Government of Cambodia to prepare its action plan and protect the issue of climate change in Cambodia.

The First Vice President stated that currently climate change or global warming is a main concern for the people in Cambodia as well as the people in region and in the world. He added that to prevent this from happening, the governments and concerned authorities have to take action and measures and prepare their action plans in combating it.

“I have noted that this year’s rainy season, the rain started very slow in some cities and provinces across the country and some areas are hot and suffer from drought. This was because of the natural disaster and climate change which is happening in our country,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during an interview on June 16th in Phnom Penh.

He added that to prevent these, the government and all concerned authorities now have to work harder and prepare their action plan, and also need to work together to combat the climate change and global warming in Cambodia.

Mr. Atiq Kainan Ahmed, Regional Climate and Disaster Resilience Specialist of the Plan International, said that climate change poses a real threat to the world’s poorest people, particularly when it comes to their ability to earn a living and feed their families.

He stated that the climate change hits poor people first and worst because of the places where they live, the quality of housing, and their dependence on the land and agriculture.
He added that climate change has recently been added to the development agenda within Cambodian government and the governments of other countries, and has been made a priority among academics and NGOs.

“Cambodia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change due to a combination of its climate-related natural hazard and low capacity,” he said. “The combination of these factors, as well as low public awareness, creates a pressing concern among NGOs and the Cambodian government.”

According to a United Nations Environment Program’s report in 2009, Phnom Penh is the third most vulnerable city in Asia in terms of natural disaster. From 1987-2007, there were 12 floods, 1125 deaths and 5 droughts which have cost the government more than US$ 300 million. If the sea level increased 1 meter higher, 56 percent of Koh Kong town’s territory would be covered by water. /

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