Some Buddhist monks are reportedly facing food shortages as the Covid-19 restrictions prevent people from visiting pagodas to offer food and monks from going out to receive alms, prompting Prime Minister Hun Sen to instruct capital and provincial governors to pay attention to their plight.
In an audio message on the night of April 20, the prime minister stated that during the measures to prevent Covid-19 transmission, travel was restricted, which included no visits to pagodas. Monks could also not leave the pagoda to get alms, risking a food shortage.
Hun Sen said: "During the lockdown, all governors need to pay attention to monks who cannot go out for food. Please take care of them."
Yu Yi Hak, chief monk of Phnom Penh Thmei pagoda in Phnom Penh Thmei commune of the capital's Sen Sok district, said since the beginning of the year, very few Buddhists have come to perform rituals or offer food. And during the lockdown no Buddhists come to pagodas to offer alms.
"Every day I send my students to buy food from the market to cook by themselves, because no Buddhists come to the pagoda. Since the outbreak of Covid-19 this year, on the holy day, no people come at all.
"This morning, the Phnom Penh Thmei commune clerks and relatives brought fresh food, such as fresh vegetables and pork, to the monks for cooking. Today we have enough food, but some days we don't," he said.