For the more than 2 million people who call Phnom Penh, Cambodia home, seasonal flooding is a recurring challenge that disrupts their ability to live their lives and secure their livelihoods. In recent years, heavy monsoon rains have inundated the city’s major thoroughfares, causing extensive damage to property and prompting families to flee their homes. The informal settlements that dot the capital city have seen especially heightened vulnerability from the impacts of poorly planned urban development projects. 

With the support of GFDRR and the World Bank and in partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia, a technical team has been strengthening locally led flood risk management efforts in Phnom Penh. These efforts have focused on five communes or sangkats: Dangkor, Kbal Koh, Prey Veng, Sak Sampov, and Trapeang Krasang.

A key first step for the team was to develop a baseline understanding of flood risk in the five target sangkats. Accordingly, the team developed a comprehensive profile of flood risk in each of the sangkats, an effort that was informed by an in-depth analysis of relevant flood risk data and information as well as extensive consultations with community members. The consultations focused on gathering insights on the social and gender impacts of flood risk.

On the basis of those analyses and consultations, the flood risk profiles mapped and identified the most flood-prone communities as well as high-risk communal infrastructure such as community roads, houses, and drainage systems. Each of the profiles also identified both existing and planned flood risk management initiatives, such as flood protection and drainage measures, at the sangkat level.

Subsequently, the team engaged closely with the sangkat authorities to strengthen their capacity to integrate the flood risk profiles into their flood risk management planning processes. As part of these efforts, the team developed both mobile and website versions of the flood risk profiles for each sangkat. With the mobile application, users can generate the flood risk profiles for the sangkat based on their current Global Positioning System (GPS) location; with the website version, they can select any of the profiles for the five sangkats. WIth both mobile and website versions, users can choose any one of 23 analytical scenarios—for instance, an extreme climate event—to see how that would impact flood risk in a particular sangkat.

In conjunction with the development of a step-by-step manual, the team conducted in-person trainings for 84 officials from across the five sangkats on how to use the mobile and website versions of the flood risk profile.

A further 76 people—including some from other sangkats, Phnom Penh Capital Hall, the Ministry of Interior, and the nongovernmental organization (NGO) sector—participated in a workshop designed to increase awareness of this initiative with a wider audience. Many of the participants in that workshop have expressed interest in replicating the flood risk profile, including the mobile and website versions, elsewhere in Cambodia.

GFDRR and World Bank support for these locally led flood risk management efforts is directly shaping the implementation of the World Bank’s Livelihood Enhancement and Association of the Poor Project (LEAP) in Cambodia. One of the overarching objectives of LEAP is to improve the access of poor and vulnerable households to financial services, opportunities for generating income, and small-scale infrastructure. It is anticipated that the flood risk profiles developed under this engagement will inform the selection of the small-scale infrastructure subprojects supported under LEAP.

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View more results stories from fiscal year 2023 in GFDRR's Annual Report 2023.