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Changing Land and Water

Cambodia is a country of some 69,898 square miles, dominated by seasonal flows of water.

If Cambodia’s forests are its lungs, and the Mekong River is its pumping heart, then its lowland waterways serve as its arteries. These lowlands are an area of fertile rice paddies, rivers and lakes, covering half of the country, supporting 80 percent of the population and producing 75 percent of its rice.

Dominating this heartland is the basin of Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and one of the most productive inland fisheries in the world. Chama works hard to provide for his family. He is a farmer living on Cambodia’s fertile lowland floodplains along the Tonle Sap River, which feeds water from the Mekong River into Tonle Sap Lake during the wet season floods. Expanding more than five-fold to flood the surrounding plains, Tonle Sap Lake usually acts as a natural spillway for the Mekong, playing an important role in mitigating seasonal flood and drought extremes. But logging, pollution, sedimentation and the construction of dams are threatening this delicate balance.

Chama’s livelihood may be further affected by predicted climactic changes affecting the Asian monsoon. Wet-season flooding is expected to be more frequent and more severe. Chama feels powerless in the face of the changes that are looming.

Will you pray for Cambodia?

  • Ask God to give wisdom to those in authority who are responsible for irrigation, drainage and management of the Mekong River.

  • Pray that the large dams being built upstream by other countries would not have a adverse effect on the economy and ecosystem of the Tonle Sap-Mekong basin.

  • Pray for God’s mercy on the many poor farmers eking out a living on Cambodia’s floodplains in the face of uncertain rainfall, frequent flooding and drought, and diminishing farm size.

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