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Soldiers not equipped for cold weather

Soldiers not equipped for cold weather

THE recent cold snap is leading soldiers stationed along the Thai-Cambodian border to complain of poor equipment and sleeplessness.

Um Tin, a soldier based at Kor Mouy near Preah Vihear temple, said soldiers have struggled to protect themselves from strong winds and chilly temperatures.

"We have coats, but they cannot block the wind," he said.  

Say Monthon, another soldier based near Preah Vihear, said this year's winter has been colder than previous years.

"We don't sleep enough because it is so cold," he said.

"Soldiers who do not have coats or other equipment face difficulties.

"It's too cold - not just in the mountains but in nearby areas as well."

Um Tin said some soldiers were cutting down trees to build huts because the tents they had received - both from the government and charities - did not provide adequate shelter.  

Bun Vanna, deputy chief of staff for army Brigade 43, which is based at Veal Antri, said night temperatures had dipped to 14 degrees Celsius but that soldiers had no reason to complain.

He said that the government, in concert with charities, had provided enough coats and blankets to keep the soldiers warm.

"It's cool here, but it does not cause any trouble for our soldiers," Bun Vanna told the Post Tuesday.

"Our forces have prepared for the weather."

Cambodian and Thai military forces have been dug in at the Preah Vihear temple since July 2008.

The standoff began when Unesco decided to classify the temple as a World Heritage Site, prompting an outcry from Thailand and a flare-up in cross-border tensions.

Cambodia and Thailand have never fully demarcated their shared border.

Discussion of the issue will resume when Thailand's new foreign minister, Kasit Piromya, visits Cambodia later this month. 

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