Nearly 10,000 poor families living along the closed border with Thailand have received food aid as they struggle to make a living and keep Covid-19 at bay, Banteay Meanchey provincial governor Um Reatrey said.
Many of the families used to make a living along the border but when it closed because of the pandemic, they found their livelihoods threatened.
Currently, the border is only opened to large lorries transferring products. Smaller shipments and people are not permitted to cross the border until at least the end of May.
He said 6,000 of the families which received aid live in Poipet town. “They used to work along the borders, and we are helping them. In Banteay Meanchey, nearly 10,000 families have been affected.
“We have given away between 15-20kg of rice, noodles, fish sauce and canned fish. The food was paid for by donations and the state budget, and if the borders don’t open, we will give more aid to those in need.
“We will continue to help them until the borders are re-opened. The re-opening of the borders depends on the Covid-19 situation as they were closed due to the pandemic,” Reatrey said.
The Poipet-based Cambodian Informal Economic Workers Association chief, Din Puthy, told The Post on Thursday that the government should consider pushing to open the border because some were risking their lives to illegally cross it.
“If the government doesn’t help ease their burden, there will be more illegal actions like crossing the border. They used to go through official checkpoints, but now that they are closed, they go through illegal corridors.
“This is because no one has anything to eat. They’re almost out of rice. So why wait further? They need to find food and they cannot put up with this any longer. They have no jobs and no food, yet they still need pay for electricity and water,” Puthy said.