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Preah Vihear residents await promised homes

PREAH Vihear residents whose homes were destroyed in clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops earlier this year have yet to move into their new houses because heavy rains have delayed construction, provincial officials said last week.

The more than 300 families are now living in three large communal buildings in the newly created Thomcheat Samdech Decho Hun Sen village, said Sor Thavy, the deputy governor of Preah Vihear province.

They were forced from their former homes during fighting over disputed border territory in April, during which the Cambodian side said Thai rocket fire burned down their shelters and a market near the temple.

"All the villagers are moving to new, big houses where they are being provided with land, but construction has been slow," Sor Thavy said.

"We are working to collect all materials for them to build their homes. I am not sure when they will get them, but we will try our best," he said.

Chom Ksan district Deputy Governor Ros Heng said that the rains had slowed demining on the 4,524 hectares of land that will house the families.

"CMAC [Cambodian Mine Action Centre] is demining the new village for them, but rains are an obstacle to demine and build houses. The construction will continue when the rain has stopped," Ros Heng said.

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