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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Squatters burnt out of homes

Squatters burnt out of homes

A fire which destroyed 235 makeshift houses and killed a bed-ridden woman occurred

one day after community representatives visited a site in Kandal proposed for their

relocation.

Wat Prayavong community leader Kim Saray said a delegation from the shanty had visited

a site set aside for the squatter's resettlement.

But he said many of the squatters didn't want to move.

The next day the squatter village was raised, and the Wat extensively damaged, in

the fire south of the Independence Monument.

A monk from the wat said he had earlier asked the government to help move the people

who were living there because he wanted to " develop this Wat as good as the

others."

The fire - which raced through the Wat Prayuvong squatter community early afternoon

Dec 5 - was reportedly started after a gas stove was knocked over during a domestic

argument.

Aid groups immediately provided emergency food and shelter for victims of the fire,

many of whom lost all their possessions - and the Phnom Penh Municipality provided

20 kg of rice to each homeless family.

Others were less charitable, however.

A translation of an article published in Rasmei Kampuchea Dec 6 read: "This

is a good occasion...when the houses of Wat Prayuvong are shut down [because] an

immoral mob of law violators live there."

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