Governor Gives Food to Preah Vihear Villagers

Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara led a 40-member delegation to the Preah Vihear temple Saturday to deliver food and clothing to more than 300 people left jobless since Thailand closed the border over complaints of pollution.

“The villagers cannot sell food from the markets, and the temperature is 8 [degrees Celsius], so they are very cold,” Chea Sophara said Sunday from Phnom Penh.

Chea Sophara, who said he had not visited the temple since he was a child, delivered clothes, cigarettes, milk, tea and rice which was donated from friends to more than 100 families in the area.

The governor’s delegation is the second visit from officials to the Preah Vihear temples since Thailand closed the border on Dec 17 over land disputes and con­cerns about pollution.

Although a Thai embassy official refused to comment on the situation, the Thais have alleged sewage from Cambodian homes near the temple is seeping into Thailand, Council of Ministers Joint Border Committee Chair­man Var Kim Hong said.

“We agree that the area should be cleaned up, but from my point of view it is not right for the border to be closed,” Var Kim Hong said.

Preah Vihear provincial authorities are conducting an environment study of the pollution in the area, and once a small canal is built, the Thais will open the border, Var Kim Hong said. He said he did not know when the study will be complete.


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