Families Criticize Disorganized Flood Relief

Flood relief distributed by the municipal Red Cross to residents from Tonle Bassac commune in Chamkar Mon district went mostly to families of leading officials, more than 100 families complained Tuesday.

Flood victims from Villages 8, 10 and 14 received 20 kg of rice and clothing Sunday. But some residents, who asked not to be named because they fear re­prisals, claimed they saw some officials’ families with three or four ration cards instead of the one card each family was re­quired to turn in to receive aid.

“Those who did not suffer from the flood received the donations, and those who suffered from the flood did not receive the donations,” one woman said.

Municipal Red Cross Director He Kann admitted there was some confusion trying to determine who really suffered flood damage and who came just for the donated goods.

“Our priority is to donate gifts to people forced to flee by the flood,” He Kann said. “But in this rush situation, we could not be 100 percent fair. It is difficult to put the blame on anyone.”

He Kann said there are about 2,500 impoverished families in the three villages. He estimated 1,300 families received flood aid.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador Kent Wiedemann will announce this morning a $25,000 flood relief donation to Cambodia. The mo­ney from USAID’s Office of For­eign Disaster Assistance will be used to distribute 10,000 emergency household kits containing house repair materials, cooking utensils, clothing, bedding, mosquito nets and hygiene items.

Recent flooding has caused an estimated $6 million of damage to roads, rice paddies and houses, according to the most recent figures released by the National Com­mittee on Disaster Manage­ment.

Fourteen deaths are now being blamed on the flooding, which affected about 39,000 families, 2,540 of which were forced to evacuate their homes, according to Chan Tong Yves, secretary of state for Ministry of Agriculture.

The disaster committee estimates 765 houses collapsed, and that 28,509 hectares of farm land and 18,616 hectares of crops were destroyed in the first of what meteorologists are predicting to be a long string of storms.

Agriculture officials have prepared 800 tons of rice seeds for victims. Prime Minister Hun Sen has said the ministry should eventually distribute 1,200 tons of rice seed. Chan Tong Yves predicted Cambodia will still have a rice surplus despite the flooding.


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