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UN disaster reduction chief ends visit in Cambodia

Phnom penh , Wed, 25 Apr 2012 ANI

Phnom Penh, April 25 (Xinhua-ANI): Margareta Wahlstrom, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, on Wednesday concluded her 6-day study visit in Cambodia on the country's flood disaster in last year.

Speaking in a press briefing to conclude the trip, Margareta described her maiden visit to Cambodia as "very positive and successful", where she had met with Cambodian senior government officials, flood-affected people, civil society and development partners to study the impacts of the 2011 floods, and to discuss ways to better protect Cambodian communities against weather related disasters in the medium and long-term period.

Last year, the country had suffered the worst flooding from August to October, leaving at least 250 people dead and estimated 1.4 million people affected. Moreover, some 3,000 kilometers of gravel roads and some 180 kilometers of national roads were damaged, according to the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), estimating an economic toll of about 521 million U.S. dollars.argareta said that the forecast predicted the country would suffer from a big flood this year, so to avoid the loss of lives, the government must provide early warning or advance notice about flooding in order to enable people's escape and prevention measures.

"However, I'm convinced that the country will be better prepared because the issue is given so much attention to by the government, local authorities, and organizations," she said.

Meanwhile, she said ASEAN countries are disaster-prone region, and Cambodia is the chair of ASEAN this year, so the UN is committed to working with Cambodia and other ASEAN nations to prevent and reduce disaster risks.

Margareta arrived here last Friday. During the visit, she visited Prey Veng province, where the floods affected more than 40,600 households in 2011. The highest number of deaths, 52, occurred in Prey Veng province due to the floods.

She also met with secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ouch Borith; Vice Chairman of the Cambodia National Committee for Disaster Management Nhim Vanda; Minister of Environment Mok Mareth and other government officials and development partners. (Xinhua-ANI)

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