In a year of challenges, the Kuma School is now facing another. In recent weeks, heavy rains have caused massive flooding and mudslides around Phnom Penh. Two different protective dams gave way, leading to dangerous conditions and dark brown water infiltrating all available spaces. Kuma unfortunately was not spared as knee-deep water saturated the ground floor of the school building. This led to ruined furniture and appliances, a loss of some food, damage to documents, and heavy hearts.
The water receded quickly and staff members were able to start cleanup efforts. But the surges also affected surrounding villages, many of which were literally underwater. Many homes were rendered completely useless and many are still affected today. About 50% of current students and two staff members were initially moved to temporary shelters at the height of the flooding.
Kuma staff have been tirelessly and personally following up on all students and providing support wherever possible. Kuma has used its own funds to supplement local government actions and provide support to Kuma families. Care packages with 50kg of rice, soy sauce, cooking oil and canned fish were distributed to 96 Kuma families twice, and a third round will happen this week. All eyes remain on the skies and weather reports as more rain is expected in coming days.