By Wanweena Tangsathianraphap, IFRC

Every year, millions of people in the South-East Asian region face the risk of losing their properties, belongings and even their lives to natural disasters. Having a solid plan and a law requiring the implementation of programmes and activities that reduces the impacts of disasters could help prepare communities and allow them to recover more quickly.

Recognizing this, this, and following a successful National Workshop on Disaster Management Law in Cambodia, the Cambodia Red Cross, in partnership with the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) have undertaken two sub-national workshops to strengthen the public’s awareness on the 2015 Law on Disaster Management. This law, implemented by the government in Cambodia, has three key goals. The first is prevention or mitigation activities before disasters, like building safer, stronger homes that can withstand flooding. The second touches on emergency response during the disaster, while the third focuses on recovery in the post-disaster period. Encouraging the community to familiarise themselves with this law ensures greater understanding of the rights, roles and responsibilities of various actors during disasters, including the community members themselves.

On 26 July 2017, the second sub-national dissemination workshop took place at Kampot with 50 participants from nine eastern provinces ((Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Takeo, Kep, Kampong Speu, Kandal, Prey Veng, Kampot and Svay Rieng). The workshop familiarized participants with the components of the law that are most relevant to them, namely their rights and their responsibilities during disasters.

“Although Cambodia is a small country, we have disaster law as a mechanism to support disaster risk management,” said Madame Pum Chantinie, Secretary General of Cambodian Red Cross during her opening remark. “As auxiliary to the public authorities in the humanitarian sector, Cambodia Red Cross has a key role to play in disaster risk management. Outlined in Chapter Six in the law are the rights and obligations of the people of Cambodia. It is very important that each stakeholder (including the Red Cross) know their roles, rights and responsibilities and undertake their work in coordination, to avoid duplication and gaps.”

The dissemination also serves to highlight the role of Cambodia Red Cross as a key community-based actor and partner of the NCDM and Provincial Committee for Disaster Management representatives (PCDM).

“Disaster law is a tool to implement more effective disaster management in Cambodia. Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere, it is crucial to have the preparedness plan in place. This is because when disaster strikes, Red Cross is there to provide relief and support,” said H.E Khun Sokha, Consultant and Director of Preparedness and Training Department of NCDM.

During the workshop, Red Cross staff from each province also practised the application of the  law during a walk-through scenario on flooding across 8 provinces. This helped them to understand and identify what the next steps were in order to bring the law forward and implement it within their communities.

“Even though this law was endorsed in 2015, I just learnt about it today. So, the people in the community may not aware of it,” said Poth Sokhany, the Deputy of the Red Cross sub-branch in Lovea Em district and the gender and diversity focal point. “After the workshop, I will report the outcome to the district office and will develop a plan to disseminate the law. I will mainstream what I have learnt with the community during the monthly meeting with them.”

The third and last sub-national dissemination workshop is set to be held on 10 August in Kratie province.

To learn more about the Disaster Law Programme, please see : http://www.ifrc.org/en/what-we-do/disaster-law/

 

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