Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers call on government amid water shortage



Villagers call on government amid water shortage

Residents collect water at a dwindling watering hole in O’Beichoan commmune in Banteay Meanchey province last year.
Residents collect water at a dwindling watering hole in O’Beichoan commmune in Banteay Meanchey province last year. Hong Menea

Villagers call on government amid water shortage

Villagers living in two drought-afflicted Banteay Meanchey districts appealed to authorities to distribute water yesterday, though officials claim the situation is not yet severe enough to warrant it.

Kok Houn, Slakram commune chief in Svay Chek district, said his village is suffering from a lack of water.

“There has been no rain and a small drought. Some villagers have to travel 8 kilometres to buy water,” said Houn.

Sam Van, a villager in O’Chhrou district, said his family doesn’t typically spend any money on water – collecting it instead from ponds and rainfall – but that this had changed.

“This month, we spent nearly $10 on water. It is difficult to find water, because many ponds have dried up. We hope the authorities will give water to us,” he said.

However, O’Chhrou district governor San Sanhour said the situation is under control.

“Of course there are villagers without water, but it’s not serious yet . . . The villagers can still buy water. If the situation becomes more serious, we will take action,” Sanhour said, explaining that authorities would step in to distribute water if needed.

According to commune chief Soung Meurng, in O’Chhrou district’s O’Beichoan commune there were already about 2,000 families buying water last week, as farmers prepare to forego planting crops for the third year in a row.

According to a recent report by the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), 2016 was the worst year for drought in Cambodia in the past 50 years, affecting 20 provinces and 2 million people.

Keo Vy, NCDM spokesman, said Kampong Thom and Prey Veng provinces may also face drought in the future.

Vy said the situation was under control, but he was worried about O’Chhrou district in particular.

“In O’Chhrou district, the villagers have no water. If there is not rain soon, this district will suffer from a serious lack of water,” he said.

As the drought gets worse, the affected region will become larger, making it harder for O’Chhrou villagers to buy water from neighbouring areas, while prices also rise.

Last week, Nop Polin, a program officer for humanitarian NGO Dan Church Aid Cambodia, attributed the severe droughts to climate change, saying erratic weather patterns have become the “new normal”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration