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Concern on refugees

Dear Sir,
I was very pleased to see the plight of the Internally Displaced People (IDP) being highlighted by getting front page coverage on your paper Volume 3, No. 21.

As was correctly pointed out, the IDPs received coverage during the fighting in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey in April but very little since then.

The IDP situation in Banteay Meanchey has been an ongoing problem and has put a strain on the resources of many of the agencies working in the province.

The article did not reflect the fact that there were a number of NGOs working with the IDPs. On the contrary it states that "The good work of the NGOs must not hide the fact that no organization, except the CRC, actually works in the camps."

For the NGOs who work long hard hours in the camps day in day out it is pretty disheartening to read this. Concern has a full time presence in the IDP settlement areas, providing shelter, water and sanitation facilities and health education, all very necessary for the health and well-being of the IDP population. Other agencies that have been and still are involved are ICRC, DCC, LWS, MSF, Care, Oxfam, the Department of Hydrology and Carere to name but a few.

The fact remains that the IDP situation in the province remains grossly underfunded and Concern alone has spent over $100,000 on the program since April from our own funding. This is unsustainable on the long-term, particularly given expected increase in insecurity during the coming dry season.

- Anne O'Mahony, field director, Concern, Phnom Penh.

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