Monday, January 23
After leaving Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, we cruised up-river on the RV Mekong Pandaw.
The Mekong floods every year in the monsoon season between July and November, but this year the effects of Typhoon Nesat made the flooding more widespread and longer lasting, and about 200 people were drowned.
The villagers who live along the banks of the river are mostly subsistence farmers and fishermen; evidence of fishing was everywhere but many of the fields were still under water and this was expected to lead to food shortages.
Kampong Cham is the third largest city in Cambodia with a population of about 60,000.
We saw a boatload of men practising for boat races at the annual water festival. The water festival celebrates the reversing flow between the Tonle Sap and the Mekong River. It takes place at full moon usually in November. However the 2011 festival was cancelled because of the floods - many of the people who would have been crewing the boats were from flood-hit provinces where they were needed to help amid the disaster.