Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Harvests destroyed in fire

Harvests destroyed in fire

Villagers attempt to extinguish a fire in a rice field in Banteay Meanchey province on Sunday. Authorities estimate that 17 hectares of rice fields were accidentally set on fire. Photo supplied
Villagers attempt to extinguish a fire in a rice field in Banteay Meanchey province on Sunday. Authorities estimate that 17 hectares of rice fields were accidentally set on fire. Photo supplied

Harvests destroyed in fire

Seventeen hectares of rice fields were consumed by a blaze in Banteay Meanchey province’s O’Chrou district early on Sunday morning, leaving four families without their harvest, officials said.

Changha commune deputy chief Hoeung Yok said local residents initially spotted smoke coming from a rice field that had been harvested in Sisophon town’s M’kak commune at about 8am.

Two hours later, they noticed that the flames had spread to another rice field that had not yet been harvested in Changha, which borders M’kak, he said.

“Luckily, there was a huge canal [near] the fire, so the fire did not spread. Otherwise, thousands of hectares of rice plantations that had not been harvested could have been burnt into ash,” Yok said.

Banteay Meanchy provincial police chief Ath Khem said fire engines were not able to enter the area because it was too muddy, but that firefighters had extinguished the blaze within two hours of it starting.

Khem said authorities will now investigate the cause of the fire. The 17 hectares that burned had belonged to four separate families. Yorn Yet, a 38-year-old whose family lost 10 of the 17 hectares, said he was renting six of those and now was left with nothing.

“Last year, we had a drought and I had much hope for this year, but now it’s another loss,” Yet said. “At the moment, I want to cry, but I have no tears. What I can do is call for support from authorities and donors.”

Seang Vanseth, the director of the provincial department of agriculture, said officials would visit the affected families to deliver food today.


  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and