Prey Phnheas village is a 60-minute drive south of Battambang’s provincial capital. Road 151, which leads to the village, is lined with rice fields getting their first taste of the monsoons in mid-August. But the closer you get to Prey Phnheas, the rice shoots are not as green.
In the midst of a fertile province, the village, devastated by recent years of drought, has a higher concentration of IDPoor recipients than anywhere else in the country. Some 1,171 of Prey Phnheas’ 1,192 residents are enrolled in the government program identifying the country’s poorest households, according to a Planning Ministry registry.
Van Sareth, Prey Phnheas’s village chief, said the hardships had only intensified since the Covid-19 pandemic. “Many people have run away,” Sareth said. “They cannot pay their loans.”