Search

 

Cablegate: Mgeap1: Cambodia Coping with Ketsana, so Far

VZCZCXRO4193
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0743/01 2801033
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 071033Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1244
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 0088

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000743

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
STATE FOR EAP/MLS and CA/OCS
BANGKOK FOR USAID/OFDA REGIONAL ADVISOR A. DWYER
USAID/W FOR DCHA/OFDA R. THAYER, ANE/AA, DCHA/FFP
KATHMANDU FOR W. BERGER AND S. MCINTYRE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR ASEC CASC MARR PREL PINR AMGT EAID CB
SUBJECT: MGEAP1: CAMBODIA COPING WITH KETSANA, SO FAR

REF: (A) PHNOM PENH 000734 (B) STATE 103261

1. (U) Summary: Ketsana's high winds and heavy rains continue to
impact people in eight of Cambodia's 24 provinces. NGOs, the
Cambodia Red Cross (CRC) and provincial governments appear to be
meeting immediate needs of the displaced without requesting
additional donor assistance. The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC)
has not declared a disaster or appealed for external help. Nearly
100,000 hectares (ha) of rice appear to have been destroyed or
damaged within a month of the normal November harvest, prompting
concern for food security and agricultural livelihoods over the near
future. Donors will need to accurately assess the floods' effect on
paddies if rehabilitation is necessary, and to ensure that the
poorest have sufficient food for the coming dry season. End
Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ----
INCONSISTENT DAMAGE ASSESSMENTS PREDOMINATE . . .
--------------------------------------------- ----

2. (SBU) Typhoon Ketsana's impact on Cambodia remains evident by the
number of temporarily displaced families, hundreds of kilometers of
destroyed roads, nearly 100,000 ha of submerged crops, hundreds of
damaged houses, fallen bridges, and many flooded schools and
pagodas. Unfortunately, reliable, verified data has been difficult
to come by and is sometimes contradictory. Headlines in the English
dailies on Monday, set off by an Oxfam International press release
on October 3, suggested the nation was on the verge of a crisis.
The government's, UN agencies, NGO and donors' views have been more
judicious in their assessments. The Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries reported separately that Ketsana had
"affected" 79,000 ha and destroyed 5,000 ha of paddy across the
eight provinces hit by the storm, nearly two thirds of which are in
Siem Reap and Kampong Thom provinces; these numbers represent about
3.5 percent of the total rice under cultivation last year.

3. (SBU) The National Committee for Disaster Management's (NCDM)
official report, which is likely to be the most comprehensive
overview available, will be made public on October 8 -- Embassy
staff will attend the meeting. NCDM data is compiled from
Provincial Committees for Disaster Management (PCDM, one in each
province), which in turn receive reports from the CRC and NGOs
working in the various areas -- principally Care, Caritas, Muslim
Aid, Oxfam, World Vision, Plan International, Action Aid and Church
World Service. Unofficially, the NCDM data blames the storm for 20
deaths and 65 injuries. In addition, NCDM reports that Ketsana
destroyed nearly 1,000 houses and damaged another 2,400, flooded 110
schools, and damaged nearly 2,000 km of roads. NCDM also reported
nearly 8,700 displaced families, the vast majority of them Kampong
Thom and Kampong Cham provinces. Finally, the unofficial NCDM data
indicated over 60,000 ha of paddy rice damaged, and another 34,500
ha flooded.

4. (U) Bilateral donors rely on the expert assessments of the World
Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF -- which analyze NGO and provincial
reports, compare reports with known populations and normal
conditions, and make representative field visits -- to ground-truth
reporting and eliminate double counting as much as possible. UNICEF
data indicates that 25,600 families in the 5 provinces of Stueng
Trang, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Rattnakiri and Kampong Cham have
been affected by Ketsana, conservatively over 100,000 people.
However, UNICEF has reported a smaller number of displaced families
compared to the NCDM and Oxfam data.

5. (SBU) Both WFP and UNICEF believe the NCDM data for the displaced
probably include normal rainy season movements of local rice-farming
populations. It is possible that a portion of the displaced in the
NCDM and Oxfam reporting include those who had already temporarily
relocated to higher ground during seasonal flooding, moving into
houses of family members more distant from their seasonally
inundated village paddies. More clearly, WFP opines that overall,
small pockets of people have had to move, but not huge groups from
broad geographic areas.

-------------------------------------
. . . BUT NEEDS HAVE LARGELY BEEN MET
-------------------------------------

6. (SBU) A great number of people has clearly been affected by
Ketsana's heavy rains and winds. Nonetheless, both UNICEF and WFP
believe provincial authorities have sufficient money and rice,
through themselves and the NGOs operating in those areas, to deal
with the worst affected. They also believe that the provincial
governments have been responsive and coordinated well with the CRC
and NGOs. WFP reported that it contacted every NGO involved with
emergency assistance throughout the eight affected provinces,
including the CRC, and all responded that they have been able to

PHNOM PENH 00000743 002 OF 002


meet all immediate needs for temporary housing, food, mosquito
netting, and water; none asked for additional assistance from the
WFP or the donor community. (Several embassies gave small
contributions to the CRC, and the CRC raised $441,000 in a fund
raising concert held by Bayon TV on October 5.)

7. (U) Barring additional heavy rains or storms, waters are receding
in most northern provinces, though both Mondulkiri and Rattnakiri
provinces expect strong seasonal winds and rain to continue.
However, Mekong River Commission measurements show that river levels
are dropping in Stueng Trang and Kratie provinces, and stable at
Kampong Cham town. Flood waters in Siem Reap have receded, but
swaths of Kampong Thom farmland are still under water. As expected,
rivers south of Kampong Cham are rising, but are not expected to
surpass alarm levels.

----------------------
LONGER TERM NEXT STEPS
----------------------

8. (U) We expect that a number of communities will be affected in
the longer term due to the loss of family rice paddies. The RGC,
provincial authorities and donors will need to more fully assess
Ketsana's effect on the very broad area of affected rice and
farmland for possible future rehabilitation and reconstruction. It
is possible that some of the hectareage reported as damaged, or
"affected," may indeed be harvested. Embassy Phnom Penh continues
to closely monitor the situation and will provide updates as events
progress.

ALLEGRA

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN News: UN Strongly Condemns Knife Attack Inside Nice Church Which Left Three Dead

The UN Secretary-General on Thursday strongly condemned a knife attack inside a French church in the southern French city of Nice, which reportedly left three worshippers dead. In a statement released by his Spokesperson, António Guterres extended his ... More>>

ALRANZ: Denounces US Senate Confirmation Of Judge Barrett

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa denounces the US Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court seat formerly held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. “This action demonstrates the rank hypocrisy of the once-respected upper chamber ... More>>

UN News: Millions Affected As Devastating Typhoon Strikes Viet Nam

A major typhoon has struck central Viet Nam, affecting millions of people – including about 2.5 million children – in a region already reeling from the effects of severe floods, according to UN agencies in the country. There are also reports that 174 ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>