The Ministry of Planning recently completed its survey of impoverished families living in the countryside and concluded that 56,000 families are eligible to receive government assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ministry plans to complete the identification of poor families in towns and districts later this month.

Ministry spokesman Nop Kornavuth said the information was sent to the Ministry of Economy and Finance for further review.

He said the government could announce the amount of money to be distributed to the families soon.

Ministry of Economy and Finance spokesman Meas Soksensan told The Post on Thursday that the ministry had already prepared a budget to assist the families and would increase it to provide other necessities.

Soksensan said: “We have to perform studies [before we assist]. Not everyone is the same. We have to look at the situation and we must have conditions. We must see how many people have been affected by Covid-19 and to what extent, and how their livelihoods were affected,” he said.

Advocacy and Policy Institute (API) director Lam Socheat said the government’s update of the identities of poor families was widely recognised by development partners and national and international organisations.

However, he said identifying poor families remained difficult because peoples’ livelihoods could change rapidly. A family living in poverty could quickly rise out of poverty or a middle-class family could become impoverished, he said.

Socheat said: “The conditions could be complex. Some poor families don’t have homes. They leave their hometown to work in various provinces, in cities or abroad.

“Sometimes, authorities may fail to identify real poor families. Most of the families identified as poor truly are poor, although a small number of poor families could not be found.”