Oxfam warns of looming food crisis in Cambodia’s flood affected regions

Emergencies, Media Releases article written on the 16 Oct 2009

As the international community marks World Food Day, a food crisis is looming in flood affected communities in Cambodia, international aid agency Oxfam warns.

Oxfam Australia estimates that 100,000 people are affected by the floods following Typhoon Ketsana and 15,000 households are in need of immediate food assistance.

Oxfam expects the situation to worsen if no coordination and urgent action are taken to deliver food assistance and is urging relevant government bodies, UN agencies, and other humanitarian organisations to solve the food shortages.

Oxfam is urgently assembling food supplies for 1,000 families in the three provinces where it operates. This is only a short-term solution for a limited number of the estimated 15,000 families who are in urgent need of food.

“Every community we provided relief items to told us they needed food urgently. Some people skip meals so that their children can have more,” said Francis Perez, who is leading Oxfam’s response in Cambodia. “All agencies concerned with the current situation must act now to ensure that food quickly reaches those in need.”

Eight provinces in central and northern Cambodia are affected by flooding. Many of the affected families are forced to borrow rice from each other, but now finding enough food is a big challenge. In some communities, Oxfam has also observed an increase in food prices which further weakens the capacity of the most vulnerable to afford the basics.

Oxfam has responded to the current emergency in three hard-hit provinces, Kampong Thom, Stueng Treng and Kratie. It has distributed plastic sheets, water filters, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, Sarongs, kettles, water buckets and soap to affected communities in the three provinces.

Oxfam has reached about 75 percent of the intended 5,000 families with its relief items despite difficulties accessing many affected regions. It also plans to reach an additional 5,000 families in the recovery phase in the next three to six months to help affected communities restore water and sanitation facilities and ensure food and livelihood security.

For more information contact: John Lindsay, Media & External Relations Manager, Oxfam Australia on +61 425 701801, johnlindsay@oxfam.org.au