As Boeng Pruol commune chief, Mrs. Try Teang plays an important role in helping her community prepare for upcoming floods. She has helped up to 80% of her commune use early warning systems to feel empowered to respond.
Mrs. Try Teang has been commune chief of Boeng Pruol commune in Kampong Cham province for almost 15 years. While she largely takes care of administrative needs of the commune, she is also a valuable player in the development and roll out of disaster early warning systems in the area, including the 1294 Early Warning System (known as ‘EWS 1294’), implemented under a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and People in Need (PIN) Cambodia.
Beong Pruol is an agricultural commune that primarily grows rice and corn, as well as other crops and livestock. It has, like much of Cambodia, been affected by changing climate conditions.
Due to the location of Boeng Pruol commune on the river, flooding is an important consideration each year, however increased variability in timing and duration is proving a challenge. “If it is a short flood, it is better for citizens in some ways, but it also leads to water shortages and makes it hard in other ways. It can cause issues because there are types of insects that eat the crops - floods can’t kill these insects if the flood is too short.”
Ms. Teang learned about the EWS 1294 system – a phone-based warning system for flooding – during training in 2019. She decided that it was her responsibility to tell her commune members. “I think I have told about 80% of the commune [of approximately 7000 people]. First, I had a meeting with the head of the village, then they tell the people in their village. I also tell people whenever I have a community meeting.”
As a result of her work, commune members have been able to reduce their own disaster risk. “They came to me to tell me it was such a good thing because they received a warning, sent by the provincial committee, before the flood arrived! It alerted them of the disaster and helped them to prepare.” Ms Teang also sees significant advantages of the system in helping people adapt travel plans and to remain informed if they work far away from their village.
Written by Kelsea Clingeleffer, Results Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant
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