The worst flooding for decades has affected up to seven million people in Thailand and Cambodia, and more than five months on, people are still relying on emergency relief from charities such as ActionAid
Bijay Kumar, ActionAid’s Head of Emergencies said: “Although the attention of the world’s media may have moved on, the misery continues, with hundreds of thousands of people still living in appalling conditions. One third of Thailand’s and two-thirds of Cambodia’s provinces have been devastated. The floods have killed hundreds of people, destroyed millions of homes and livelihoods, triggered some serious diseases and ruined the countries’ rice crops.”
In Cambodia, anti-poverty charity ActionAid has provided around 36,900 people with food, shelter, water purification kits, seeds and livestock. In Thailand, the charity has reached 10,400 flood affected people and 700 children with emergency packages.
But now, almost six months on from the onset of the rains, the focus is shifting to helping people to rebuild their lives. In Thailand, ActionAid is ensuring that health and sanitation needs are met, families’ incomes are stabilised through diverse livelihood opportunities, agricultural disaster resilience work starts and the specific needs of women and children are met. And while the disaster relief response continues in many parts of Cambodia, the ruined rice harvest has created new problems. Food shortages, child malnutrition and household indebtedness means that providing the poorest households with rice seed is a priority for ActionAid Cambodia.
Our work has only just begun. We are moving out of the emergency phase where we have helped people to survive the initial impact of the floods. Our next challenge is helping people rebuild their lives – this will involve long term support that will help people become more resilient to future disasters