As the UN yesterday announced a nearly $4 million grant to respond to the flood crisis, there were complaints from some flood victims in Kompong Chhnang City that aid was not being distributed fairly.
More than 70 families protested on Wednesday at the Phsar Leu village office in Phsar Chhnang commune, saying they had not received vouchers allowing them to claim aid, SRP deputy commune chief Meas Lun said.
Nhim Vanda, first vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, and a representative from the Chinese Embassy took part in a ceremony to hand out donations to 1,343 families in the city, said Mr Lun. “I do not know for sure why more than 70 families did not get donations,” he said. “But I think that families who were friendly with or close to the village and commune leaders had more chance of getting vouchers.”
Protester Chea Sokhun, 45, who is living in a boat due to the flooding, said that he was one of the people who had not received any donations. “I think that the village leader is biased towards his family and does not care much about many poor families,” Mr Sokhun said.
However, village leader Orh Chan denied the accusation and said that he simply did not have enough vouchers for all of the many flood victims in the area.
“There are more than 400 families affected by flooding, and I only had 105 vouchers. How could I give vouchers to all of them?” he asked. Mr Chan added that protesters would receive donations soon.
Cambodian Red Cross spokeswoman Men Neary Sopheak said that more than 1,000 families received donations in Kompong Chhnang City on Wednesday.
By the end of the month, the Cambodian Red Cross will have helped more than 100,000 families, she said. But “this is only one-third of flood victims.”
Cambodian Red Cross volunteers and local government leaders checked on whether the people claiming aid were really affected, she said. “Everybody says they are a flood victim,” she added.
(Additional reporting by Alice Foster)