Droughts in Cambodia Spell Doom for Farmers and Fishermen

Radio Free Asia –

An extended drought in Cambodia has caused the tributaries of Tonle Sap lake to dry up, spelling ruin for farmers and fishermen in Battambang province.

The large, seasonally flooded freshwater lake discharges into a river of the same name, which flows southward into the Mekong river, but this year, because of El Niño, temperatures in the region are higher than normal, which has resulted in water shortages and a decline in fishable areas.

Villagers in Battambang’s Aek Phnom district say they have been unable to fish since April because the drought. They are now running out of food and have pleaded with the government to give them emergency relief.

“I am facing starvation and [I am being supported by] my children. They shipped me some rice and I distributed some [of that] to other fishermen,” said a villager in an interview with RFA’s Khmer Service on Wednesday.

The villager requested anonymity because she was fearful of retribution from authorities who asked people in her community specifically not to talk to RFA.

She said some of the villagers can’t even make one dollar per day, and that families with many children or elderly people are especially struggling.


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