Cambodia’s first disaster database system unveiled

Oct 18, 2013

Students walk on a flooded road on a their way home from school in Kampong Cham province. Credit: Save The Children

Phnom Penh – Cambodia’s first disaster management database is now up and running in time as authorities and development partners are working together to assist the government to respond to the aftermath of the recent flood. The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) on Wednesday activated the system called Disaster Loss Database (CamDi), which stores information on a range of disaster events: flood, fire, storm, drought, lightening, pest outbreak, riverbank collapse, and epidemic.

Flood caused by heavy rain and seasonal swell of Mekong River have had severe impacts on Cambodia this year. On 18 October 2013, NCDM reported that 20 out of 24 provinces in the country have been affected by the flood, which has resulted in the death of 160. Some 1.7 million people have been affected and 27,185 families were forced to evacuate to safety areas. In addition, nearly 297,600 hectares of rice field have been inundated. More than 28,100 hectares of rice have already been damaged, depriving the farmers of the much-needed income to support their families.

NCDM is coordinating efforts to respond to the disaster and assist the victims with the support from the Humanitarian Response Forum (HRF) – a network of UN agencies, NGOs, and international organizations that are engaged in emergency preparedness, humanitarian and early recovery response in Cambodia.

“The importance of this disaster database system cannot be overstated,” said Napoleon Navarro, Deputy Country Director of UNDP in Cambodia. “It is very useful for the government and development partners in the current joint efforts to save lives as well as for future inventions to deal with other disaster events,” he added.

The implications of disasters, especially floods, in recent years have prompted efforts to strengthen the Cambodia’s capacity in disaster preparedness, risk management and coordination for better and effective response. Until recently, disaster loss and damage data exists in various government ministries but the datasets are not well organized. In this light, UNDP, in August 2012, commissioned a project to assist NCDM in its capacity to manage disaster data collection and analysis by making them more systematic and consistent.

It is the first time a centralized disaster management information system is now available in Cambodia.

Aside from giving up-to-date information for emergency response and early recovery from the recent flood, CamDi is designed to be a long-term strategic tool. In it, data on various disaster events is stored and analyzed to assist in recovery and reconstruction efforts after disasters hit, and more importantly in planning for better preparedness that would help lessen impact of disasters.