Oct 18 2011
Amid the hullaballoo about floods in Thailand (and them slowly moving toward the capital, Bangkok), Cambodia is suffering from widespread floods as well. Five weeks of flooding, 17 out of 24 of Cambodia’s provinces under water, 200,000 hectares of agricultural land washed out, 34,000 households evacuated and 247 people already dead. The scale of what has happened in Cambodia in the last month or so is almost unprecedented, and the human toll will continue to be counted for a long time to come. Families’ vegetables plots have been washed away, livestock lost, the price of rice has shot up, and for many people, already living a hand to mouth existence, their ability to earn a living is gone or profoundly impaired.
Cambodians need help, and they need it now. Fortunately, after some unforgivable delays, the national government and international community have mobilised relief support to some of the worst hit provinces, including Kampong Thom, Siem Reap’s neighbour to the east. It is to Siem Reap’s benefit that it was not as severely affected as Kampong Thom, where many villages are under two metres of water, however this means that Siem Reap has been left off the list of target provinces that will receive support from the government and international aid agencies. Siem Reap has to fend for itself, more or less.
Fortunately, local organisations are working hard to reach out to the communities that they work with and establish what their needs are, and then reaching out again to their networks of friends and supporters to raise funds to meet those needs. This is where you come in.
Michael Horton is the founder of ConCERT, an organisation founded to connect communities, environment and responsible tourism. He spoke to some of his member organisations this week to find out what was going on. They reported back that the most urgent need is food. According to Grace House, “People are in desperate survival stages. They need food. They can’t go to work, and when you’re living hand to mouth, that’s fatal.”
Grace House is collaborating with Raffles Hotel to raise funds for relief support to the families that work in Siem Reap. If you would like to help them, you can do so either by visiting the hotel or contacting Grace House through their website.
Another organisation for former street children has entered into a collaboration with three different hotels, with the aim of raising funds to supply 10 tonnes of rice to families affected on the riverside and in Kampong Thom. The Green Gecko Project is building on its long standing relationships in town, and visitors can donate through their special webpage, or by contacting Hotel de la Paix, Heritage Suites Hotel, Golden Banana Boutique Hotel & Resort, or Exotissimo Travel Cambodia.
The children themselves originated the idea for this project and have been the driving force behind it.
MaD, Making a Difference for Good, works with rural communities and its projects are about 50 kilometres out of town in areas that have also been badly hit. They desperately need support to help deliver rice and building supplies to these communities and donations can be made by contacting them through their website.
If you happen to be in town and are just walking around not sure what to do, feel free to drop into the ConCERT offices too. Michael Horton would be glad to talk to you about how you can help.
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