The Japanese embassy in Cambodia has provided more than $200,000 through their Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (KUSANONE) to improve fire-fighting capabilities in the capital.
The grant agreement was signed on January 18 between Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami and Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng.
Municipal hall spokesman Meth Meas Pheakdey told The Post that the grant will provide added security and safety to Phnom Penh residents by helping to prevent and put out fires.
“I thank the ambassador for showing us the generous hearts of the Japanese people. This grant shows the love, consideration and care of the Japanese people for the residents of Phnom Penh,” he said.
Mikami said this grant will go towards the purchase of a fire engine with a 40m high ladder which will be the first of its kind ever used in Phnom Penh. It will also cover a chemical-equipped fire engine and two water-pumping fire engines.
Mikami said a training programme on the operation and maintenance of this fire-fighting equipment will be provided.
This will help Cambodian fire-fighters respond to any fires in the increasingly common high-rise buildings of Phnom Penh, as well as to incidents involving hazardous materials in a fast and efficient manner.
“This improves safety and protects the property of the approximately 400,000 residents of Phnom Penh, along with the city’s many visiting tourists and business travellers from around the world,” he said.
Mikami added that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the municipal hall and Japan’s Safety Sakura Service Co Ltd to achieve improvements in the fire-fighting and rescue capabilities of the Phnom Penh Fire Brigade was also signed along with the grant agreement.
The municipal administration, the fire brigade and Safety Sakura Service Co Ltd will collaborate with the aim of further strengthening their relationship and improving Cambodia’s fire-fighting capabilities based on the terms of the MoU.
San Chey, the executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said in the past extinguishing fires in Phnom Penh and the provinces had involved many different organisations and individuals from police forces on over to branches of the military.
“Cambodia’s emergency response to fires still has a lot of problems. Everything needs to improve. Especially when responding to house fires the focus has to be on helping the victims and extinguishing the fires immediately before they spread,” he said.
Concerning the grant, Chey welcomed the assistance but hoped that the government and its Japanese development partners would go further in their efforts than the provision of new equipment and engage in the reforms necessary to create a system that adequately protect all lives and property from dangerous fires.