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For eight days, starting April 4 to 11 a forest fire covering 11 hectares raged in Kampong Phlouk commune, Siem Reap province in the target area of JCCI partner Fishery Action Coalition Team (FACT). The flooded forests around Kampong Phlouk is not only a popular eco-tourism zone but also an important fish habitat, a resource essential to many people’s survival. The fire started after a few individuals, collecting the daily need of firewood, left their cooking fire unattended. Through good cooperation between FACT, district and village authorities, gendarme, fishery department, CBOs and locals the fire was after eight days finally under control.
Effects from the fire includes the loss of 11 hectares fish habitat for the 2013 rainy season and is likely to lead to less tourism in the area. Immediately the fire affected nearby communities by a loss of livelihoods and a fear of the fire spreading to villages. In Kampong Phlouk, authorities and communities will keep working to improve early warning systems, disaster management and ensure the availability of fire trucks to be better prepared. The apparent risk of fires, manmade or weather and climate induced, is a strong incentive for continued community based resilience building and education.