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Khammuan steps up flood recovery effort, calls for crop seeds

Khammuan province: Authorities in the province’s flood-hit Yommalath district are providing affected families withrice, drinking water and other essential supplies, but stress that crop seeds are the most urgent need.
The Deputy Governor of Yommalath district, Mr Khounsy Saengdala, told visiting media on Monday that the Xebangfay River overflowed at the end of August and the beginning of September, flooding 23 villages and affecting 11,617 people in 2,412 families.

Some 2,433 people were given emergency accommodation at nine temporary shelters, but they have now returned to their homes. It has been calculated that 1,426 hectares of rice were damaged. The floods also killed an estimated 73 pigs, 11 cows, three buffaloes, 33 goats and 14,517 poultry valued at over 126 million kip.
“During the floods, authorities provided essential supplies to villagers, mostly rice and drinking water. But there are now 5,722 people in 1,200 families who each need at least 12 kg of rice a month over the  next three months, as well as drinking water,” Mr Khounsy said. People also need more seeds to plant so they can replace the rice and sweetcorn crops they lost. As part of the recovery plan, it has been proposed that seven villages along the Xebangfay River be moved to higher ground, he added.
Authorities are now organising the clearing of land so that families can rebuild and relocate.
“In the future, we will build the capacity of communities to respond to flooding, provide people with more information about extreme weather events and make better preparations for and responses to flooding,” Mr Khounsy said.
According to the province’s Agriculture and Forestry Department, five districts along the Xebangfay River were flooded to varying degrees and many hectares of rice were damaged, with Yommalath suffering the worst damage.
The Division for Production Promotion, under the Department of Technical Extension and Agro-Processing, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, said they have a 1,500-tonne stock of rice seeds for use in the dry season from November to March.
The division will be able to help flood-hit farmers in Khammuan, Savannakhet, Attapeu, Saravan, Champassak and Xekong provinces, where more than 130,500 hectares of rice fields were damaged. The division is now waiting for requests for rice seeds after local authorities have made assessments of their needs.
Tropical depression Podul passed over Khammuan province and five other provinces at the end of August and the beginning of September bringing torrential rain and flooding that caused widespread devastation.

By Phomphong Laoin
(Latest Update October 2, 2019)

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