Source: Khmer Times / Monday, 25 April 2016 by Mom Kunthear
The government ordered the Ministry of Economy and Finance to allocate additional funds to provinces facing hardship as a result of the drought via the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), with committee officials sent to the provinces to make sure the money is distributed on time.
Keo Vy, the cabinet director and spokesman of the NCDM, said yesterday that the vice-president of the committee, Nhim Vanda, has started sending working groups to Pursat, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces, but could not say how much money is being allocated for drought relief.
“Mr. Vanda has started going to some provinces to bring money to the provinces, to examine the drought and to respond to the actual situation in those provinces in order to see what we need to do to help them,” he said.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Hun Sen took to Facebook to sympathize with people affected by the drought, urging citizens to conserve water.
“I ordered the Ministry of Economy and Finance to provide a budget through the NCDM in order to buy gasoline for transporting the water to the villagers,” he posted on Facebook.
“I hope that the water that the local authorities distribute to you will help your needs.”
Late last year, when Mr. Hun Sen was announcing the cancellation of the country’s water festival, he said a portion of the funds saved would go to farmers forced to water their fields with wells and pumps.
Mr. Vy said that all of the Kingdom’s provinces have been affected by the drought, with 18 provinces being more severely affected than others. The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology and local authorities have been trying to find a source of water they can take and transport to the villagers for temporary use.
Nhim Vanda, the vice-president of the NCDM, declined to comment yesterday on his way to Pursat province, but according to an interview he gave to local media on weekend, he said the drought this year is worse than last year’s and the drought 20 years ago.
“It is time to swiftly respond to solve the problems in order to satisfy the villagers,” he said.
Mr. Vanda said the drought has had a wide ranging impact across the Kingdom, affecting the environment, people’s welfare and living standards.
Animals have been severely affected as a result of the drought, with high temperatures being blamed for the death of hundreds of bats in Siem Reap’s Phnom Bouk Temple earlier this month, an Elephant at Angkor Wat park on Friday and tons of fish at a sanctuary in Kampong Thom province on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology announced yesterday that from April 25 to May 3, the temperature will drop and rain will fall in the capital and some provinces.