After Storm, K Kong Fishers Face Hunger, Officials Say

Several dozen poor fishing families in Koh Kong province’s Khemara Phoumint City are facing a food shortage as high winds and waves off the coast over the last week docked their boats and hurt their livelihoods, officials said.

The families belong to 1,200 families in Dang Tong commune’s Buon village and village representatives have complained to commune officials since Thursday that they can not afford food, according to commune chief Toung Kheng.

“These people are very poor. They came to my office for help and now we are surveying them to see whether they are really starving or not,” he said, adding that the Buon village chief was compiling a list of hungry villagers which will be forwarded to the local Red Cross office.

On Nov 2, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology issued a warning about the potential danger of high waves and strong winds in coastal areas.

At Sopheap, deputy police district chief, said that at least 74 families from Buon village lacked fish that they normally sell as their sole source of income.

He said a group of ten men and women were representing the families.

“They walked to the commune office and other places looking for help,” he said, adding that the group also paid a visit to the provincial office.

Ros Matt, chief of Buon village, said that many fishermen lived hand-to-mouth and that even a few days without fresh fish could cause them to go hungry.

“They are very poor and they could not do fishing because of strong winds and high waves,” he said. “When they cannot go out and fish, then they do not have food to eat.”

Neang Bora Tino, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said his organization was investigating the matter.

“In recent days, some people are having food problems since the warning against going into the sea,” he said.


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