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No Rain Means Drought for the Un-Irrigated

While some villages in the northeast of the country are suffering from floods and a swelling Mekong River, villagers in Kampong Chhnag's Tek Huot commune are worried drought conditions could lead to a food shortage later this year.

Many villages lack irrigation in Cambodia, and, like those in Tek Huot, are dependant on the rain for crops. Their rice seedlings are in a critical stage of development and could die if no rain falls by next week, villagers said.

"I am very scared," said a middle-aged man named Sok Try, who has nine children. "I only have a bit of dry season rice. I gathered it and dried it this morning, and it is almost gone…. I am so afraid there will be no rain, and I have so many children, and they will die of starvation."

Tek Huot commune chief Chim Thol said 15 percent of the town was facing critical food shortages. Another 65 percent might have some staples now, but would face shortages in two to three months.