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Cambodia floods set to worsen

October 20 2011 - The worst floods in Cambodia for more than a decade, that have killed 247 people, mainly from drowning, and displaced more than 100,000 families, could worsen, Christian Aid warned this week.

‘With heavy rains set to continue it is feared the people of Cambodia will suffer even more,’ said Katja Leven, Christian Aid’s country manager for Cambodia

‘The situation will worsen further when neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam open their dams to ease their own floods.’

‘A major concern is food security.  Now and in the longer-term there’s the risk of severe food shortages due to rice fields being submerged, grain stores swept away and the December harvest being lost,’  said Katja.

Already thousands of homes and usually safe places such as open patches of high ground, schools and pagodas have been flooded.

Flood waters in the provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake is continuing to rise, and whilst the Mekong river water levels have begun to drop they are expected to remain high for the next few weeks.

Nearly three-quarters of the country is thought to have been affected, and it’s the poorest who have been hit the hardest.

Most of the communities affected by the floods are in rural areas which are still difficult to access, where people are largely dependent on subsistence agriculture, mainly rice farming and fishing, for survival.

Provincial authorities estimate that up to 60 per cent of the rice crop may have been destroyed.

Another major concern is sanitation, many people do not have access to safe drinking water and many wells are contaminated with flood water.

Local organisations funded though Christian Aid, DCA and the ACT Alliance are distributing food and providing safe water to the worst affected communities.

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If you would like further information or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson please contact Jo Rogers on +44 20 7523 2460 and jrogers@christian-aid.org

Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk