Refugees evacuated from the fighting zone are asking for help because their homes were all destroyed from the clash (Photo: Uy Sophea, RFA)
06 April 2009
Radio Free Asia
Translated from Khmer by Socheata
Click here to read the article in Khmer
The short clash between Cambodian and Thai soldiers on 03 April led to more than 300 Cambodian war refugee families.
More than 300 Cambodian families living in the village at the foothill of Preah Vihear temple and who are now war refugees from the fighting zone, were temporarily evacuated to Sra’Em village, Kantuot commune, Choam Ksan district, Preah Vihear province. These families now face shortage of food, housing, clothing, and household cooking utensils because more than 250 of their homes were burnt down during the clash between Cambodian and Thai troops.
On Monday 06 April, a group of villagers who are now living in makeshift tents and in a market building said that their belongings and household utensils were all burnt down because of Thai troops rocket shelling.
Siv On, an elder man sitting underneath a tarp sheet, said that his home was burnt down, and his loss amounts to more than $10,000. “I lost my house and my belongings. The loss amounts to more than $10,000. We could not get anything out, we could only save ourselves and we thought that nothing will happen to our homes.”
Another villager said with tears streaking down her cheeks that her house was completely destroyed by the fire, and when she escaped from the fighting zone, she couldn’t get anything out at all, she was only able to escape with her children and the clothes on their back only: “I lost everything, I don’t even have a short for my children. I came to live here 10 years ago with my husband. They [Thai soldiers] fired [rockets] into houses in the market. I was lucky, if I did not run the trench on time, I would be filled with holes [from rocket shrapnels]. I am very hurt by the Siems [Thais], I don’t know who to tell this to, I can only beg Samdach Dekcho to help the villagers so they can continue their businesses.”
According to local authority, thousands of refugee people are facing difficulties, such as shortage of food, household utensils, clothes, lodging and they are also facing health problems.
On Monday morning, Sor Thavary, the deputy provincial governor for Preah Vihear, said the evacuated villagers lack everything, and he is calling on all humanitarian organizations to help provide for the villagers.
Sor Thavary said: “They lost everything in the fire. Any donations are very appreciated by them, if they can get tents that would be best.”
The authority indicated that the department of social affairs and the Preah Vihear Red Cross have distributed food, mosquito nets and plastic tents in an emergency, but the supplies cannot meet the needs of these war refugees yet.
These war refugees were evacuated by Cambodian troops to safer zones in the evening of 03 April, following the clash between Cambodian and Thai troops near Veal Entry, located close to the Preah Vihear temple.