September Floods

This past week, Poipet and the surrounding districts have experienced some incredibly heavy rains. Weather services aren't really very popular here, so I have no idea how many inches we got over a 24-hour period. But it rained enough to drive over 3,000 people from their homes and kill 3 people in flash floods.

SP staff spent time assessing the damage and seeing where they could help. Teams also worked over the weekend, going into flooded village areas and handing out coupons for food care packages that families could collect. One of my friends who went with the team told the story of reaching a house and being invited for lunch. They sat cross-legged on top of chairs to avoid the knee-high water rushing under them. To one side of the house, my friend noticed a shack with six girls sitting on a platform above the water, still sewing clothes on machines, despite the water rushing under them. It's amazing how people just carry on in situations like this!

Even Poipet City itself hasn't escaped the flooding. I've written before about the preschool that I would visit on the weekends for a kids' program. That preschool is now under chest-high water, and hundreds of people from that poor neighborhood are living in a market just off the main road. It still amazes me that you could drive down the main road, not see any flooding or slums, yet less than half a mile away, families are losing what little belongings they have and being forced from their homes to living in squalid conditions for who-knows-how-long, without access to clean water or toilets.

The Cambodian Red Cross has also been working in the area, handing out food. The rains are expected to continue, and word has it that Thailand is opening up some flood gates, which empty straight into Cambodia. Thankfully, there are a lot of NGOs and government agencies working together to take care of the people in this time of crisis.

For us, the flood hasn't affected our neighborhood very much, besides a few houses having standing water around them. Even this afternoon, as a massive thunderstorm rolled in, kids ran around the streets, playing and greeting us with their ever-present smiles and "Hello!"