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Fire leaves 48 families homeless

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A man tries to put out a fire that engulfed homes in the Sambok Chab area of Phnom Penh. CCF

Fire leaves 48 families homeless

The Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) said on Tuesday that 48 families have been made homeless after a fire swept through their homes in Phnom Penh on Sunday afternoon.

No one was injured in the blaze, which happened in the Sambok Chab area of Meanchey district’s Stung Meanchey commune, but most of the families have been left with nothing.

CCF is a non-profit organisation established in 2004 to support poor children who live near a former Phnom Penh municipal dump.

CCF Community Outreach Manager Hoy Leanghoin told The Post on Tuesday that it launched a fundraising campaign on Monday for the affected families.

Leanghoin said the organisation had yet to officially determine the amount of money needed to build new homes for those affected, but the initial idea is to build 4m by 5m wooden and tin houses which cost up to $1,500 each.

“We want to build safer, more secure homes which cost between $1,000 and $1,500. But this does not include items such as mattresses, pillows and floor mats.

“The new homes will be better as most of the families lived in shacks that had a high risk of catching fire – and we don’t want see this happen again,” Leanghoin said.

As most of those affected do not have relatives to stay with, the CCF has allowed them to stay temporarily in one of its community schools.

The CCF is also providing food twice a day until the families can afford their own pots and pans to cater for themselves in eventually new homes.

Leanghoin said 80 per cent of the affected families are CCF-supported and have children in its education programme.

“This is the worst thing that’s happened to the CCF community. These families really need our help. Most of them were forced to escape their homes taking nothing with them. They need clothes, food, water and money,” he said.

Since 2004, the CCF, Leanghoin said, has provided assistance packages to more than 3,500 families in the form of food, monthly cash allowances and medical care. He said the CCF has also built homes for around 464 families.

He added that CCF founder and executive director Scott Neeson was returning to Cambodia on Tuesday and a fundraising campaign for those affected by the fire will be discussed further with him.

Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng visited the site on Monday to donate food and money.

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