o bai tap, Siem Reap province – Two major projects aimed at improving living conditions for the nearly 6,000 internal refugees living here are close to completion.
RCAF officials monitoring Khmer Rouge defector resettlements have said the two most important projects are establishing a road and providing clean water.
The road will ease the transportation of supplies to the defector camp, while clean water will prevent camp residents from getting sick from contaminated supplies, according to NGO workers.
The army took one month to build the approximately 30-km dirt and gravel road between Banteay Srei temple and O Bai Tap, connecting the displaced persons’ camp with Siem Reap town.
The last few meters of road were being smoothed out on Friday.
General Mao Sovann, who is monitoring the camp for the RCAF general staff, said a plan to provide clean water to the defectors will see action this week.
A government-owned water tank to filter and treat water from the contaminated river that abuts the camp is scheduled to be transported to O Bai Tap today.
“[Action Contre la Faim] had a plan to dig a well, but so far they have determined that this land cannot produce water,” Mao Sovann said.
The second option was to set up the tank, which a Cambodia Area Rehabilitation and Regeneration official estimated would take a few days.
Despite an increased aid agency presence here, the government still plans to move the people back to Anlong Veng when the embattled former rebel territory becomes safe, Mao Sovann said.
Yim San, commander of rebel division 980, said Friday that living conditions here are less than ideal. “It is very hard to live here because we have very few supplies,” he said. “But I haven’t set a limit on how much time I will spend here.”