NCDM Lauds Flood Response, NGO Calls for Better Coordination

National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) Vice President Nhim Vanda on Wednesday lauded the flood response work of the Cambodian Red Cross and government, at a workshop to discuss the country’s National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction where several participants focused on the lack of disaster response coordination.

Announcing a donation of $250 to the family of each of the 168 people killed in floods since mid-September, Mr. Vanda said a total of $42,000 would be donated as compensation.

“Even though the floodwater is low now, the government continues to help the victims and will donate 1,000,000 riel [about $250] to compensate the victims’ families,” he said.

More than 60 NGO and government representatives met at the Cam­bodiana Hotel to discuss the future of risk reduction Wednesday. Mr. Vanda gave the opening remarks and then left.

Throughout the day, NGO representatives and officials discussed the way forward for disaster risk reduction, with many appealing for better leadership and coordination in providing disaster relief to families.

“Monitoring and reporting has become the number one priority for disaster risk reduction in Cambodia, but it is difficult when there is a lack of organization and leadership,” said Damien Riquet, a Bangkok-based disaster risk reduction expert working in Cambodia with international development organization PLAN.

“The relevant ministries and authorities are getting involved more and more with disaster risk reduction, they are making great progress, but without coordination between them, they don’t get the most efficient result.”

“We are trying to promote the creation of a platform to bring all the parties together, but it is hard to set up.”

Chris Eijkemans, Oxfam country director, agreed that the NCDM, which officially has no budget, was improving but still lacked elements vital to the timely delivery of aid.

“The government handled the situation with continued assistance…but more could have been done to make coordination more timely,” he said.

“Oxfam believes that the [NCDM] needs to be fully empowered and [given] sufficient resources to coordinate relief efforts and ensure the re­lief assistance is provided in a timely and appropriate manner.”

Mr. Vanda declined to comment on the shortcoming in disaster assistance coordination.

© 2013, All rights reserved.