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Officials aid poor in virus fight

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Civil servants donated boxes of food, bottles of sanitiser and thousands of face masks to help poor families battle the coronavirus. Heng Chivoan

Officials aid poor in virus fight

With the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting lives throughout the world, Cambodia’s civil servants at the national and sub-national levels have initiated a donation scheme to assist poor families and help the government in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

The donations include 12 tonnes of milled rice, 600 boxes of fish sauce, 300 boxes of noodles, 500kg of salt, 1,000 packs of seasoning, 20 boxes of canned fish, 1,500 bottles of sanitisers and 4,000 face masks.

They were donated to residents in Prey Poun commune, in Prey Veng province’s Kampong Trabek district on Friday.

Has Sareth who heads a government working group in the district and distributed the aid, told The Post on Sunday that they volunteered to ease the government’s burden.

“We have a working group that consists of a head, deputy head and members. Its members are divided to take responsibility for communes [in the district]. Each member and donor is willing to give out money and materials. We are helping families that run into hardship,” he said.

Sareth said as part of its campaign to help people affected by Covid-19 throughout the Kingdom, the government has established other foundations and working groups at both national and sub-national levels to aid the fight.

Kampong Trabek district governor Yav Sanin said the contributions are in line with the recommendations by the top leaders who have promoted crowdfunding among the groups.

He said top leaders had encouraged officials at all levels to lend a hand to people in need, however small their contributions are.

“Poor people lack daily necessities and have run into extreme difficulties. So the working group came up with the idea and started handing out donations following the government’s appeal,” he said.

At Russey Chroy commune in Kandal province’s Mok Kampoul district, national and sub-national level working groups have made their contributions through crowdfunding since mid-March.

The money raised has been used to buy milled rice, canned fish and other necessities for more than 1,000 families.

Russey Chroy commune chief Um Chhong Sreng said their work is facilitated by village and commune heads with the guidance of leaders at the national level. The aim, he said, is to help take some of the burdens off the government amid this pandemic.

“The money and materials we have generated came from officials at all levels and generous people on a voluntary basis. Then we distributed them to those in need.

“We also have a reserve fund of more than 20 million riel ($5,000) to help them. We’re not sure if this is sufficient, but we are saving it for a rainy day. It will come in handy,” he said.

Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophorn told The Post that the aid has been donated to people in need across the country. He said people still receive the aid even if they have no social security cards for the poor.

“We help the poor without discrimination. We don’t want them to feel that civil servants and well-off donors leave them behind. We help them out of love regardless of race or religion,” he said.

Sophorn called on donors and leaders to continue their humanitarian gesture and join the government in helping people in need. He said the pandemic has cost some people their jobs.

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