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Border children evacuated

Border children evacuated

MORE than 156 vulnerable children have been rescued from near Preah Vihear temple by the Street Children Assistance and Development Program (SCADP) following the October 15 border clash between Cambodian and Thai troops.

Yim Sokhary, the executive director of SCADP, told the Post on Sunday that they rescued children living on the de facto front line who lacked access to health care and education as a result of the conflict.

She said that SCADP plans to provide free education, health care and accommodation for at least three months and will cook about 72 kilograms of rice and 36 kilograms of dry fish and sausages every day to keep the children fed. SCADP has pledged continue to support these children for an additional three months if necessary, but they have no room take in more children.

Dragging on too long

"If the military standoff between Cambodian and Thai troops is not resolved in a short period, there will be a shortage of food for the children," Yim Sokhary said.

"I am concerned that if the negotiations between the two sides fail again and again, and Thai soldiers remain in Cambodian territory, then fighting will occur again in near future."

She said the SCADP safehouse is located in Sa Em village, which is about 30 kilometres from Preah Vihear temple, and that the children will be brought back to their parents once the border tensions end.

"The children cannot be safe if the country is not safe. If the country is not safe, it can not be a World Heritage site," an SCADP press release about the rescues said.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said that he was not aware of the rescues.

He added that he thought the government and the local armed forces were already taking care of the children in the area.

Bun Tean, a senior military official with Brigade 43 of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), told the Post that there were no children in the danger zones of the standoff and that the border situation was normal.

But according to SCADP, another 100 children are still with their parents in affected areas along the border.

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