Three hundred communes in 14 provinces are facing food shortages due to the persisting drought, leaving many villagers starving, officials said.
Kompong Speu, Prey Veng and Takeo are the worst afflicted provinces, Nhim Vanda, first vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said Wednesday.
“I am very concerned that soon it will be worse,” he said, adding that he is appealing to the World Food Program to provide food for people in return for working on water supply projects.
The department is cooperating with the Cambodian Red Cross to provide emergency relief, Nhim Vanda said.
People in Kompong Speu will have to eat less rice and try and conserve their food, provincial Governor Chan Nhalivuth said.
“People have to be thrifty in eating to save food,” he said, adding that many people have left their villages in the province to try and find work to feed their families during the drought.
Ponds, canals and wells have dried up in the province, he said, blaming the drought on deforestation. While Cambodia is in the middle of its dry monsoon, last year’s rainy season began late and ended more than a month early, ruining wet season crops and leaving less water for the smaller dry-season rice crop.
The WFP has been distributing food to eight districts in Kompong Speu, and four in Takeo, said Chuop Mony, head of the WFP office in Kompong Speu.