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HIV families to get housing

HIV families to get housing

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090507_02.jpg

Nine families at the Borei Keila community to receive on-site housing, but another 23 still face eviction later this month.

Photo by:
CHRISTOPHER SHAY

access to vital antiretroviral drugs, but a further 23 still face eviction in the coming weeks.  

NINE Borei Keila families with at least one member with HIV/AIDS will receive onsite housing, meaning they will move to a new apartment adjacent to their current shelters, say community members.

But 23 other families say they will be forcibly relocated to the outskirts of Phnom Penh by the end of the month.

All 32 Phnom Penh families currently living in squalid green shelters at the site have at least one person receiving antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to fight HIV/AIDS.

Sao Vanna, head of the community in the green shelters, said that at Borei Keila there are 42 families now facing eviction, 23 from his community. They will be moved to Tuol Sambo in Dangkor district, far from any source of ARVs.

The Ministry of Tourism told Sao Vanna that it needs the land to start planting a garden in front of its new building.

"The community will be moved to Tuol Sambo village as soon as this month because the Ministry of Tourism is scheduled to finish construction in September, and they need the green zinc shelter land for a garden," he said.

Ten families in total - one family does not live in the green shelters - heard Tuesday that they would receive apartments in Borei Keila because of 2003 photographs showing that they had been on the land for more than five years, said Sao Vanna.

But he and community members say most of the families have been on the land since before 2003 and that authorities missed them in past counts of the community's residents.

"Some of the families affected by HIV/AIDS have been here since 1998 or 1999, but they were absent when the authorities came to investigate, so they don't have the documents," he said.

Suon Davy, a 41-year-old with HIV/AIDS who says she has been living in Borei Keila since 1999, did not have her photo taken more than five years ago and expects to be evicted soon.

"In 2003 when the authorities came to investigate, I was in the hospital. I had no hope I would survive until today, so I missed the photo," she said, adding that she would not go to Tuol Sambo because "it is far from the city and would be difficult to get my medicine".

Seang Vy, a blind mother living with HIV, found out Wednesday that her family would receive an apartment, but after so much disappointment, she said she would believe it only when she has moved in.

 "I am feeling happy because I will have a new house for my child ... but what I am worried about is that I have only heard [the news]," she said.

"I am afraid that they are just saying that to make us feel safe, and then they will relocate us."

Srun Sran, Prampi Makara district governor, refused to comment Wednesday.

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