Thursday, July 14, 2005

Cambodian gov't warns drought may affect 3 mil. people

(Kyodo) _ The Cambodian government warned Thursday that if drought conditions continue in the country until early August, as many as 3 million Cambodians, mostly farmers, stand to be affected.

"If the rain does not fall by early August, the drought will impact the livelihoods of up to 2 to 3 million people," said Nhim Vanda, deputy chairman of the government's National Committee for Disaster Management.

Last year, 14 out of 24 provinces and cities nationwide experienced drought, causing food shortages particularly in remote areas, he said.

He said that, as of Thursday, his committee, the Cambodian Red Cross and the World Food Program had already supplied emergency food supplies to some 490,000 people.

The shortage of rainfall is due to global climate change, not only in Cambodia, Nhim Vanda said.

In 2000-2001, Cambodia was hit by floods and droughts that claimed the lives of 400 people, 70 percent of them children, and caused up to $200 million in damage.

Some 80 percent of the country's 13 million people are farmers who rely heavily on rainfall due to a lack of irrigation networks throughout the country.

Cambodia's rainy season lasts from May to October, and its dry season from November to April.


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