Around 1,000 families in Ratanakkiri province who lost their food stocks, animals and rice harvest in early October when their homes were flooded by Typhoon Ketsana, will be able to further restore their daily lives as each household will receive a water filter in the coming weeks.
The distribution of the filters, which will improve access to drinking water for the poorest communities, started last week and is being organized by the NGO Medecine de la Nature, with support from The Cambodia Daily Ratanakkiri Typhoon Victims Appeal, which contributed to the relief effort by funding the purchase of 300 filters.
The Ratanakkiri Typhoon Victims Appeal was launched early last month in response to an appeal by Pierre-Yves Clais, the owner of Terres Rouge Lodge in Banlung, requesting donations to the relief operations by Medecine de la Nature for disaster-hit communities in the northeastern province.
“I saw videos of the flooded villages where we take tourists, I saw the high water in the village and the [villagers’] dead buffalos floating away into the Sesan River…. I know they lost all their cattle, chickens, crops and rice fields,” Mr Clais said last week, adding that after seeing the footage of the flood damage he e-mailed a large number of people to appeal for support to help rebuild the villages.
Several overseas donors made $1,500 available under the Ratanakkiri Typhoon Victims Appeal in response to Mr Clais’ e-mail request.
“I was happy with the donations” for the filter distribution, he said, adding, “I think it is a good [relief] operation.”
Karine Chevrot, project coordinator for Medicine de la Nature, said 111 water filters were distributed to families last week in two villages located on the banks of the Sesan River in Chey Uddom commune, Lumphat district.
“We have to identify the poorest villagers…. Today we distribute filters to 111 families, in the next one or two weeks we distribute the rest of the [1,000] filters,” Ms Chevrot said, adding that the distribution was a joint operation with NGOs Osmose and HAMAP.
Typhoon Ketsana affected an estimated 7,000 families in the province and 8,000 hectares of farmland was damaged, half of which was completely destroyed.
Vincent Calzaroni, director of Medicine de la Nature, said the communities had also received support through the distribution of food and items such as blankets and mosquito nets by NGOs such as Welthungerhilfe and 3S Rivers Protection Network, but he added so far not much had been done to improve health in the village.
“There is a lot of typhoid, diarrhea and worms in the village. It comes from polluted water. Clearly the fact that the ground was flooded, wells and toilets, has caused this,” he said.
“Water filters are a good way to reduce the risks of contamination by water,” he added.
“We luckily could find some funds to contribute to improving the situation,” Mr Calzaroni said of the appeal.