about the author
Spokesperson for South and East Asia
Marcus Prior, a former journalist, was WFP's East Africa spokesperson before coming to Bangkok in 2010 to head up public relations in South and East Asia.
Chin Cheng Hong’s house is built on stilts, but so high have the floodwaters risen in Cambodia this year that even this was not enough to protect her completely. When the waters crept through her floorboards, she knew things were really bad.
Cheng Hong, mother of five is sitting in the shade with her eight-year-old daughter Cheng Hoa after receiving a monthly rice ration from the World Food Programme (WFP) – along with other items from partner NGO Save the Children – at a distribution on her island in the Mekong not far from Kampong Cham.
“The river came up right over my floor,” says Cheng Hong. “We lost our tobacco crop and all our crops around the house – all the fruit and vegetables we would use at home and take to market as well. We also lost our chickens and pigs.”
The floods in Cambodia this year are the worst in over a decade. About 1.5 million people have been affected, and 250,000 displaced. Some villages have been underwater for almost two months, schools and health centres are closed, and thousands of homes have been destroyed or badly damaged. Whilst many communities are well adapted to flooding, many others are not, and are in urgent need of assistance.
The scale of the crisis and the damage done to agricultural fields also means that the impact of this year’s floods will be felt for many months to come. Cheng Hong knows she faces a tough struggle.