Boeng Kak Residents Meet With Deputy Municipal Governor

A request from Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak lake area residents seeking land titles and assistance with recent flooding will be sent to the Council for the Development of Cambodia on Monday, a representative for the residents said Friday.

A group of nine resident met deputy municipal governor Touch Sarom Friday afternoon at City Hall after unsuccessfully trying to meet Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema earlier in the day at the “Stand up, Take Action and Make Noise” anti-poverty event in Wat Botum Park, where Mr Chuktema was listed as a key speaker.

Mr Chuktema did not attend the rally, and Noun Someth, deputy municipal governor, spoke in his place.

Community representative Ly Mom said about 1,000 residents from 234 families in the Boeng Kak lake area are living in homes inundated by knee-deep flood waters she said were caused by developer Shukaku Inc pumping sand into the lake to create stable ground for a future development. She said she asked Ms Sarom to grant the residents land titles so they can begin rebuilding homes that were destroyed in a fire earlier this year and to help reduce the flooding.

“None of the authorities care about this,” Ms Mom said.

Ms Sarom said yesterday that she was too busy to discuss the meeting with Ms Mom and declined to comment.

Even before the anti-poverty event, Boeng Kak lake residents have tried to meet Mr Chuktema to discuss their plight.

The event was organized by the municipal government with support of the UN Millennium Campaign and was aimed at increasing awareness about UN Millennium Development Goal number one: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.

Information provided yesterday by the UN showed that Cambodia was “off track” in its efforts to achieve the first of nine Millennium Development Goals the country set in 2003 and are to be achieved in 2015.

Pieter van Maaren, acting UN resident coordinator in Cambodia, said after yesterday’s rally that poverty and hunger need to be tackled both directly and indirectly. He pointed to vocational training as an avenue to directly lower the poverty rate, adding that the adoption of better agricultural practices would indirectly reduce hunger.

Mr van Maaren said 50 percent of Cambodian children are “stunted”-malnourished or not receiving proper nutrients in their diets.

“In terms of nutrition, a lot needs to be done,” he said.

According to statistics previously released by the UN, 25 percent of Cambodians live in poverty. In order to achieve it Millennium Development Goal, that number would need to drop to 19 percent by 2015.


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