SIDO Cambodia
Flood and Disaster Program
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Flood, Disaster and Drought Mitigation Program
SIDO main priorities is the Integrated development projects within this major program at the national level, provincial level and community level through its direct project implementation and through our working partners to our SIDO target areas and target groups. It is mainly implementing by both component I and component II which its aim at helping farmers and fishers in Cambodia prepare for floods and other related disasters and drought matters occurred surrounding their communities that affects to their livelihood.
Rainy season in Southeast Asia in which Cambodia is one country in this region, cuts both ways. Each year, it brings relief from drought in some areas. But it also threatens the people who live along the Mekong River, some provinces and its tributaries.

It is a normal that beginning of August of each year, the river rose and this season's flood threat began. The swirling waters leapt over the banks at Thakhek, Mukdahahan, and Pakse in Lao PDR and it continues to move closer to Cambodia, further downstream and to end in Vietnam.
Our focus areas of work
  • Capacity building and training
  • Adaptation to the disaster and ready for its development
  • Livelihood improvement and empowerment
  • Humanitarian supports and disaster based for development
  • To prevent unnecessary losses – although SIDO cannot deter the water, we hope to reduce losses through the Community Based Flood Preparedness Project. Our past experiences started the Community-Based Flood Preparedness Project in various provinces. Villagers were taught how to raise their homesteads by building up the ground above flood level. This way their lives and belongings can be safe at the time of flood and storm. They received training in first aid and public health education. And safety was made a top priority. Life jackets, water containers and water filters for safe drinking, family boats, and a shared safe evacuation areas. Since most Cambodians living in the flood-risk provinces are subsistence farmers and fishers who live below the poverty line, those who do not prepare have little capacity to recover. The preparation project helps people live as normal a life as possible during the floods.
For example, women in Prey Veng province can use the family boats to collect water plants. “At two in the morning they take what they have gathered to the market. They cannot afford to be without this lifeline for one day. SIDO and our working partners support these women to maintain their family boats. Wood is taken to the community where the carpenters fix it. For each tree cut down, new trees are planted”.
A Village Disaster Management Committee encouraged the communities to be prepared for the coming flood. At the time of flood, the committee again helped their own people prevent any accidents that might occur. Because of the relative success in this province, SIDO and its partners have visited other parts to increase the range of the flood preparedness project in the future.
We already have an assessment team in place for this approaching flood. They closely track the water level in all the provinces along the Mekong River, and in other flooded areas in Cambodia. A situation report will be drafted to inform the wider SIDO humanitarian team based at overseas, other Foundations, Charitable families and donors. The National Commission for Disaster Management and interested NGOs will be consulted on plans to assist the affected communities if the need arises.

Once the rain stops in early October, the people living along the Mekong might sleep easier, without the threat of floods at the back of their minds. But at least now they are better prepared.
The Destroy and its nature of the Flood in Cambodia
Villagers in Ba Phnom district in Cambodia's Prey Veng province still show visitors the discolored markings left by the big floods of 2000 on the columns inside their houses. They are about one meter from the ground, we note, reflecting how high the waters had risen.

Communities in both Ba Phnom and across the border in Vietnam say that the 2003 flood season was far better that the destructive floods that came three years ago.

But in both neighboring Cambodia and Vietnam, residents know full well that floodwaters can wreak havoc on their lives one day, yet make the soil fertile. In short, the flood season between July and December shapes their daily lives — what they can make a living from, how they travel, how their children go to school.

All of this flows from the fact that a large area of the Mekong plains in Vietnam or the Mekong Delta — from 1.2 to 1.8 million hectares — gets flooded every year, a phenomenon that both nurtures and destroys and one that residents have learned to let their lives flow with.

Water during the flood season, which lasts from two to six months, reaches a depth of 0.5 meters to five meters in various areas. To see how communities cope with the floods, our team traveled — aboard a motorboat mostly — through several districts in Cambodia, and then crossed into Vietnam.

To visit flooded areas along the Mekong River and other places affected by annual floods, our field team traveled about three hours by bus from the capital Phnom Penh to Bad Phnom district.

The Mekong River branches off from the Mekong River at Chaka Tumor - "four directions" - in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. It then flows down Prey Vent province, which surrounds the capital. It crosses into southern Vietnam across the Cambodia-Vietnam border, before finally reaching the South China Sea.

The floods are a regular force that shapes people's lives through different times of the year. Many villagers rely on farming and weaving mats to make a living, but floods can destroy the fields. So when the waters come, they adjust to nature by doing other work, such as fishing, harvesting grass to sell, and picking flower grass that grow in the water to use as food and as produce to sell.

Amid rice fields submerged during the flood season, the sound of boats everywhere floated toward me. Fishermen, grass harvesters, flower grass pickers and other business people were crossing the waterway through this area.

Communities therefore found ways to cope with this reality. For instance, all public buildings, pagodas and houses are built on higher than ground level in order as protection from rising waters.

In Vietnam too, the floods, including in areas like Chua Doc and Tanta, have a serious impact on agricultural products and people's livelihoods.

The Basic River flows across Cambodia into Chua Doc, flooding the area but also making the earth fertile and transportation using boats easy. Indeed, big and small boats — including those carrying tourists — were traveling along that route.

"Chua Doc is an area for tourism," Lay Key Yon, manager of the Truing Nguyen hotel, said. "Besides visiting historical areas and other places, tourists like to go on boats to see the floating market, the fish feeding farms on floating houses and other scenery in the flood season."
Traveling by boat and taxi in the flood geography of An Gang over the next two days confirmed that that the level of floodwaters in Vietnam was, as in Cambodia, also lower in 2003 than in previous years.

In any case, the irrigation systems in these areas appear to have been better developed than on the Cambodian side. These irrigation dams are also meant to hold back floodwaters, preventing a large number of villages, rice fields and fruit plantations from being submerged.

Meantime, floods or not, Chua Doc's villagers continue with their daily lives. Villager’s fish, vendors go aboard their small boats and children take boat rides to school, much like those youngsters across the border in Cambodia.
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