About 30 veterans living in Aphivat Thmey village in Stung Treng’s Samaki commune – on land granted to them as a social land concession (SLC) last year – are pushing authorities to deliver a basic necessity the site lacks: clean water.
According to Long Sithou, a 57-year-old veteran who moved into the village five months ago, wells in the village are “dirty”, making it necessary for villagers to fetch clean water from a pond in a neighbouring village on a daily basis.
“We are disappointed that our new village lacks clean water. The water from the well is very dirty and we can’t use it for drinking or cooking,” he said. “Some of us went to the provincial authorities on Wednesday to ask for a solution.”
Sou Sam Ol, a provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said authorities should “prepare everything including water, electricity and other infrastructure” before awarding lands to veterans.
“Now that they’ve come to live in the village, they face a lack of clean water,” he said. “Clean water is very important for their daily lives.”
Last December, 115 retired soldiers were granted the village through the SLC process. However, only 30 have moved there since.
“We appeal to all veterans to live in the village to make it easy for authorities to provide them with public services,” said provincial rural development director Soy Kea, who promised to provide a solution.