Population growth, climate hazards for capital outlined

People make their way through floodwaters in Menchey district’s Boeung Tompun commune on Tuesday after heavy morning rains hit the capital. Hong Menea

Cristina Maza and Touch Sokha
The Phnom Penh Post, Thu, 24 November 2016

Phnom Penh’s infrastructure must be urgently improved if the city is to prepare for the coming population boom and the worst impacts of climate change, speakers said yesterday at a conference on urban development organised by the Czech non-profit People in Need.

As climate change affects the ability of rural populations to make a living, the capital’s population will continue to grow steadily, People in Need’s disaster management and risk reduction program manager Tep Sokha told the audience.

An increase in rainfall, meanwhile, is making agricultural work less viable, and big development projects, such as large hydropower dams, will continue to displace people from their land.

And as the population grows, severe flooding, fires, traffic accidents and waste management problems will become even more pressing issues.

“Tens of thousands of households will be affected by climate change,” Sokha said. “People always say that at the Year of the Snake, we will have a big rain – so, every 10 years. But now we see that 2011 was the biggest rain in 100 years, it’s getting worse and worse all the time.”

Many of Phnom Penh’s communes lack a comprehensive land-use plan to deal with the changes, and about 12 percent of the city still lacks basic latrines.

Also speaking at the conference, Fouad Bendimerad, of the Earthquake Mega Cities Initiative, noted that poor people are particularly at risk of losing everything during a disaster.

“There are no insurance policies for the poor. They aren’t there to cover you if you lose your livelihood,” said Bendimerad, who noted he himself had worked in insurance for 11 years. “The government has to provide a safety net for the poor.”

A 2015 report by People in Need found that “many urban poor settlements in Phnom Penh are located in disaster prone areas such as riverbanks, lakes and garbage disposal sites”.

Speaking to reporters at the conference yesterday, Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Eang Ony said the city is working to solve land management, traffic, sewage and rainwater drainage issues.

City Hall is also working with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency to complete a 2017-2035 master plan for Phnom Penh, he said.

“We are working on things like installing more canals and trying to re-erect the dikes around Phnom Penh,” Ony said in an interview. “We’re going to renovate all of the canals around Phnom Penh.”

Posted on: November 23, 2016 8:09 pm

Orphanages go unregistered, uninspected

Boys watch television at a Phnom Penh orphanage. Sovan Philong

Audrey Wilson, The Phnom Penh Post
Fri, 25 March 2016

Just over half of the orphanages in five “priority provinces”, including Phnom Penh, are registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) as legally required, according to a preliminary survey released yesterday.

The data suggest that the number of children in residential care institutions is 56 per cent higher than previously estimated.

And until now, only institutions recognised by the ministry have been evaluated for minimum standards of care. A sub-decree mandating that all institutions register with the government was signed in October.

The report, conducted with support from UNICEF, found that while 267 facilities met the definition of a residential care institution, only 139 were inspected in 2014. In the capital alone, there are 69 facilities that have never been inspected, according to Bruce Grant, the chief of child protection at UNICEF Cambodia.

Left unregulated, institutions raise “a number of serious concerns”, including overcrowding, exploitation and deliberately poor conditions designed to attract donor funding, said James Sutherland, spokesman for Friends International, which provided support for the survey.

Preliminary mapping took place in the provinces thought to have the largest number of residential care facilities: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kandal and Preah Sihanouk. (more…)

Posted on: March 24, 2016 11:36 pm

How we build Character

Continue, even when it is hard to go on. Release, even when it is hard to let go. Endure, even when it is hard to bear. This is how we build Character. ~Master Cheng Yen

Posted on: February 16, 2016 10:23 pm