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Families allege flood aid graft

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife and Cambodia Red Cross president Bun Rany delivers aid packages to flood victims in Pailin
Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife and Cambodia Red Cross president Bun Rany delivers aid packages to flood victims in Pailin province’s Sala Krao district on Saturday. Some villagers claim they did not receive aid as a result of graft. PHOTo SUPPLIED

Families allege flood aid graft

More than 10 families in Pailin province are claiming that flood aid proffered by Cambodia Red Cross officials is being unfairly distributed by commune and village authorities.

Kim San, 61, a member of one of 16 severely flood-affected families in Sala Krao district’s Stung Trang commune levelling the allegations, said officials had only distributed 10 out of 80 packages of donated instant noodles.

“The 16 most affected families were not given any relief packages because of the nepotism [and graft] of village and commune chiefs. When we complained, they said we would get the aid next time,” San said yesterday.

The claim was flatly rejected by Stung Trang commune chief Keo Rodet, who claimed only 700 of the 2,000 families in the commune received rations, a decision determined by need, rather than graft.

“The aid distribution is done appropriately at the provincial level, but those who didn’t receive any reacted strongly,” Rodet said, claiming villagers’ interests were central to officials’ distribution of relief aid.

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife, Bun Rany, has led the Cambodia Red Cross since 1998 and was in Pailin distributing supplies to nearly 2,188 flood victims yesterday.

Cambodia Red Cross officials declined to comment.

As flooding recedes in most of the 20 affected provinces, victims continue facing scores of recovery challenges including sanitation, food security, health and shelter concerns, as well as a lack of potable water.

In its fourth report on the flood situation, released yesterday, the Humanitarian Response Forum – a network including the UN and NGOs – found the flooding caused 168 deaths and affected over 1.7 million people, shuttering 1,390 schools and 78 hospitals and health centres.

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