The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) of Cambodia is executing the Asia Development Bank (ADB) financed “Rural Roads Improvement Project”, with Nordic Development Fund (NDF) providing parallel grant financing for Climate Change Adaptation Output (CCAO). The project is the first of its kind in Asia and ADB is keen to see the Kingdom of Cambodia pilot replicated in other countries. Cambodia faces an increasing incidence of disasters with severe damage, high costs and threats to lives and livelihoods, especially due to flooding. NDF, through the CCAO, is assisting MRD in establishing a pilot emergency warning system and emergency response facilities in Kampong Thom province. This was a unique project for which the CCAO team was, for the first time in any Asian country, able to directly connect at-risk people to infrastructure sectors and the development of early warning and emergency response systems. The project aimed to improve road networks in four provinces in Cambodia. More than 150km of roads were upgraded to paved, climate-resilient condition. Flood risk assessment was included, along with supporting community-based road safety measures, a sustainable road maintenance programme, and climate-proof road design. Cheu Teal, in Kampong Thom’s Sandan district, was chosen as a pilot area. Most of its access roads flood during the rainy season, cutting off communities and endangering lives. The team took a pragmatic, “bottom-up” approach, starting with discussions and needs assessments at community level. Once these were completed the practical work to improve safety and resilience got underway. Three flood shelters were established in Kai Raing, Ang Doung Pring, and Cheu Teal. An Emergency Operations Centre was developed at Cheu Teal and an Emergency Information Centre established for Kampong Thom Province. Simulation exercises taught locals how to use roading networks to quickly access emergency shelters. Alternative route information and improved safety route signage was provided and, for the most vulnerable community, an evacuation boat was supplied.
Communities were selected for early warning and emergency response assessments, socio-economic surveys, capacity development plans, coordination mechanisms and procurement plans to enable coordination and operations at province and district level. Later work focused on implementation of early warning systems, emergency response facilities and capacity development.
- Developed climate resilience infrastructure risk assessment, early warning and emergency management for road safety and climate change adaptation of road design in Cambodia
- Climate model downscaling and analysis
- Conducted simulation exercise of standard operation procedures
- Developed operation centre for emergency response, transport sector guidance, plans for incorporating climate and disaster-risk management into investments, and related capacity-building activities for MRD staff
For the first time in Cambodia, the project has demonstrated best practice in combining the rural road infrastructure sector with early warning systems, emergency preparedness and emergency response systems. The project has institutionalised communications procedures from the national level to provincial and commune levels for the efficient management of disasters to enhance the safety and welfare of the Cambodian people. “Coping with climate change is highly important to rural development,” said H.E. Chang Darong, Director General for Technical Affairs at the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Rural Development (MRD). “We continue to seek advanced solutions to improve the Kingdom of Cambodia’s rural resilience. The emergency response component of the project was so successful that ADB is keen to see it replicated in other districts in Cambodia.”
Emergency management consultant - Dr Bapon Fakhruddin