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Access to clean water in rural areas hits 50%

A young girl fills a bottle with water at a village water pump in Preah Vihear's Chheb district last year.
A young girl fills a bottle with water at a village water pump in Preah Vihear's Chheb district last year. Hong Menea

Access to clean water in rural areas hits 50%

Cambodia passed a key Millennium Development Goal milestone last year with half of rural areas now having access to clean drinking water, according to a Ministry of Rural Development annual report released yesterday.

The report also touted improvements to sanitation in rural areas, which brought the level of rural people with access to latrines, hand-washing and hygiene facilities to 46.2 per cent.

But Chray Pom, a Ministry of Rural Development department director, warned there was still a long way to go, with half of Cambodia’s rural population – more than six million people – still lacking clean water.

“In rural areas, it is hard to find clean water, because we do not have enough infrastructure and some families are poor. Some of them do not want to build a latrine,” he said.

Yon Sarom, director of Mondulkiri province rural area department, agreed that sanitation was worse for people in rural areas compared to their city counterparts, with poverty impacting health.

“People living in rural areas are accustomed to living without sanitation. They do not care much about their health,” he said.

According to the report, the department built 189 wells, dug 11 ponds and provided 200 water filters in rural areas last year, with 2,744 latrines constructed in Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu and Prey Veng provinces.

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