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Over 5,000 Families Need Immediate Help In Cambodia :Oxfam

Monday, October 5, 2009

PHNOM PENH, Oct 6 (Bernama) -- Cambodia is still in emergency relief mode though flood waters in some areas are beginning to stabilize, the international humanitarian agency Oxfam said Tuesday in its press release.

Affected populations are in need of food, plastic sheets, mosquito nets, water filters and water containers among other non- food item needs, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

Livelihoods have greatly been threatened especially with loss of the current rice crop. Wage labour opportunities are no longer available to those who rely on agriculture labour for income, the release said.

According to Oxfam, 5,000 families or about 20,000 people need immediate assistance in four provinces.

This figure may grow bigger as more information is received and more areas accessed. Oxfam's staff reported that flood victims in Kampong Thom, Stueng Treng, Kratie, and Preah Vihear remain among the most vulnerable.

"We can't underestimate the situation" said Francis Perez, Country Lead of Oxfam International in Cambodia.

"We are still in an emergency situation. Public health concerns and people's livelihoods are our priorities. We must keep strong coordination with other humanitarian agencies."

It is now estimated that 60,000 people are affected with at least 17 deaths including one pregnant woman, 65 injured with 18 serious cases and 30,000 hectares of rice fields and plantation destroyed by flood waters.

Oxfam's field reports show that 1,519 houses, 55 public buildings, 40 km of rural roads, 160 irrigation systems, channels, dams, embankments, and three bridges were damaged, causing major disruption to people's livelihoods. Relief works are hampered by transportation problem as roads and bridges have been damaged.

The traditionally dispersed settlements of Cambodian people also make some of the forested villages inaccessible for need assessment and aid distribution, whilst public health concerns are mounting among unaccounted population in remote and forested villages.

Oxfam's health experts warn that people must be careful about drinking water, as flood waters are highly contaminated.



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