Impact of Disasters and Role of Social Protection in Natural Disaster Risk Management in Cambodia
The pattern of risks faced by the poor and vulnerable in rural areas of Cambodia, as a consequence of natural disaster, is posing an increasing threat to their livelihoods. One third of the past three years has been taken up either with flooding or with drought, and the drought periods were more prolonged than the floods. The damage caused by flood and drought was comparable, although the flood of 2011 was the most extensive of the disasters. This paper presents impacts of disasters on household welfare and the linking of social protection interventions to address the entitlement failure of poor and vulnerable people suffering from the impacts of flood and drought. There is a strong need at the policy level to design social protection interventions to emphasize ex-ante instruments rather than the ex post response to natural disasters as focusing on emergency assistance and relief. Cash transfers programs provide direct assistance in the form of cash to the poor. Ex-ante cash transfer programs can play a crucial role in encouraging poor households to invest in business rather than spending on food. Microfinance schemes can also help ex-ante income diversification that can bolster households against widespread natural disasters.