Koh Kong Villagers in Clean Water Shortage

Residents of Koh Kong province’s Khemara Phoumint City are once again suffering from a lack of clean water due to a hot season drought, according to the company tasked with providing the water.

LYP Group, which is owned by CPP Senator Ly Yong Phat, channels water into Khemara Phoumint City’s three communes from the Cham Yeam reservoir in the province’s Mondol Seima district.

In a letter the group sent to local officials on Thursday, the company said it has “temporarily postponed the production of clean water” until the reservoir has been refilled. A similar shortage occurred in May 2013.

Ouch Touch, administrative chief of Koh Kong Provincial Hall, said Tuesday that he had hoped the shortage would only last for a few days, but that the shortage is now closing in on an entire week.

“Last year, we also had water shortage but it was just for a short time,” he said, adding that villagers in each of Khemara Phoumint City’s three communes, Smach Meanchey, Dang Tong, and Stung Veng, are suffering.

Khlem Koky, director of the provincial department for the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts, said that some water is still being pumped into Khemara Phoumint City. In Kongchet, the provincial coordinator for rights group Licadho, however, said that the water is unsanitary.

Neam Yong, Smach Meanchey commune chief, said the water supply has been getting dirtier and dirtier for the past two months.

“It affects people a lot. We use it for bathing and it makes our skin itchy. We complain about this problem but no one listens to us.”

Bun Kheng, 42, a villager in Smach Meanchey commune, said the water coming into his home has a strong smell and is a reddish brown color. “It makes our skin itchy when bathing in it,” he said. “I’ve spent extra money to buy water for my kids’ safety.”

Mr. Kheng said there have been shortages of clean water for three years now and he wants LYP Group to fix the problem.

“The company has a responsibility to solely supply clean water. They can not put the blame on the weather,” he said.

LYP Group could not be reached for comment.

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