Prime Minister Hun Sen lambasted a senior official in the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) on Thursday after announcing that he would allocate money to aid victims of recent floods that have killed a total of 12 people.
Speaking at the Chaktomuk Conference Hall for the closing of the sixth national assembly for the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC), where his wife Bun Rany was again elected as the organization’s president, Mr. Hun Sen scolded Nhim Vanda, first vice chairman of NCDM, for two unreliable reports about damaged rice fields in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces.
“Frankly speaking, I can’t believe in your reports sent to me,” Mr. Hun Sen said. “If I am not mistaken, 1,750 hectares of land are flooded, including the 500 hectares [you say are] ‘damaged.’ So—oh my God—the flood occurred for one night, but the damages are 500 hectares?”
Mr. Hun Sen lectured Mr. Vanda on how to discern when a rice field is damaged or simply flooded.
“Don’t rush to make assessment on the damages. I would like to teach you because you are a person coming from Komchay Mear; you are not a river person,” he said, referring to Komchay Mear district in Prey Veng province.
“If the water flows, it means there is breath and oxygen, so rice will not die easily. But if the [flooded water] doesn’t flow, it’s easy for rice to die,” he said.
Mr. Hun Sen then instructed Mr. Vanda to focus on brevity when drafting his reports.
“Please make your letters short. Don’t write too long,” he said. “Don’t worry about what the water level is because the Ministry of Water Resources will be responsible for tying it up.”
Before criticizing Mr. Vanda’s reports, Mr. Hun Sen approved Mr. Vanda’s request for assistance from the government to help battle the floods and to aid victims.
“The Ministry of Finance will provide a budget to purchase fuel, while the Ministry of Commerce will provide rice,” Mr. Hun Sen said.