The Number of Children with Severe Malnutrition Increases – Thursday, 19.2.2009

Posted on 19 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“Phnom Penh: A new report from the National Institute of Statistics found that the number of children with severe malnutrition increased, and the number of different diseases that affect children under the age of five increased also.

“The findings of a survey on the national level, analyzing the influence of high food prices, indicate that the health of children did not improve, because the number of children with serious malnutrition rose from 8.4% in 2005 to 8.9% in 2008, which is an important indication based on their weight and height proportions. This survey found also that the spread of fever among children under the age of four rose to 58.9% in 2008, compared to 39.6% in 2005.

“However, this survey discovered also some positive results regarding the situation of alimentation of women and of children under the age of two.

“The director of the National Mother and Child Health Center, Professor Dr. Kum Kanal, referred questions regarding this problem to the person who released this report.

“The deputy director of the Department of Planning and Health Information, Ms. Sok Kanha, said Tuesday evening by telephone that our country is poor, and the economic standard of living dropped, making many workers unemployed, and some farmers do not own enough rice fields, causing shortages. Therefore, they cannot provide enough food to their children.

“When asked whether the equity program of a foundation of the government is failing or not, while the health situation of the people declines, Ms. Sok Kanha claimed, ‘The equity program of the foundation of the government does not fail, because this program offers charged services to patients, but it is not to buy food for the poor.’

“She added that any solution for this problem requires participation from development partners, and especially the UN World Food Program, to provide food to people, and she requested to provide aid to ‘the hungry, otherwise its project will not be successful and will not reach he right directions.’

“[Secretary of state at the Ministry of Health and director of Calmette Hospital] Dr. Heng Taikry could not be reached for comment, but he told The Cambodia Daily on Monday that he did not know anything about the findings of this research, yet he suspected that the rising food prices probably do not affect children’s health.

“He went on to say, ‘At present, Cambodian people have a better living standard and they can eat sufficient food.’

“The above survey is funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF – and by the United Nations Development Program – UNDP – asking 7,500 women and children to reflect on the influence of high food prices. The Institute of Statistics found that in 2008, food prices increased by 10%, more than the price of other consumer goods.

“A consultant of the Institute of Statistics, Mr. Joel Konkle, told The Cambodia Daily that the spread of diseases such as diarrhea, fever, serious respiratory diseases among small children increased, and further research is needed to define the extent of these diseases.

“He added that more serious malnutrition and child health conditions might be caused by high food prices, because research shows a declining consumption of expensive food, such as meat and fish. Malnutrition of children makes them easily susceptible to diseases.

“Mr. Joel Konkle added a warning that poor children in cities need emergency assistance, because of the increase in the number of malnourished children under the age of five, from 9.6% in 2005 to 15.9% in 2008.

“The Chief of the Children Survival Section of UNICEF, Ms. Viorica Berdaga, said that she was surprised that serious malnutrition of children under the age of two increased. She added that those involved in food security should summon a meeting soon and take action as quickly as possible.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4825, 19.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 19 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #119, 19.2.2009

  • France Welcomes the Beginning of the First Hearing of the Tuol Sleng Prison Chief [Kaing Gek Eav, called Duch]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Criticizes that Persons in the Fields of Education and Health Care Were Reduced [he agrees that in some fields it is necessary to reduce personnel by sending people into retirement without replacing them – but this should not relate to the fields of teachers and doctors]
  • Two Englishmen Died in a Royal Highness Hotel Room [the cause of deaths is not yet found – Phnom Penh]
  • The United States of America Adds 17,000 Troops for Afghanistan

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1877, 19.2.2009

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Waits for a Final Investigation Report from Troops before Asking for an Explanation from the Siamese [Thai] Embassy
  • Brothels in Siem Reap Town Run Their Exploitation Grandly [their number is increasing, they have a bad influence on public morals and culture – local residents say that they are mostly operated by people from Vietnam]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #347, 19.2.2009

  • Commander-In-Chief Pol Saroeun Said that Siam [Thailand] Unintentionally Fired into Khmer Territory, while [the chairperson of the Committee for Solving Border Disputes] Va Kimhong Said that It Violates Cambodian Territorial Integrity

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6582, 19.2.2009

  • A Car of a Korean Delegation Crashed into the Ou Leang Kruos Bridge and Injured Three People Seriously [Strung Treng]
  • A Study for the Construction of a Hydro-Electric Dam at the Cheay Araeng River in Thma Bak District with 108 Megawatt and an Investment Capital of More Than US$325 Million Is Finished [by the China Southern Power Grid Company – Koh Kong]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3691, 19.2.2009

  • [The president of the opposition party] Sam Rainsy Asked the Government to Take Immediate Action in View of [the declining] Prices of Agricultural Products, and to Cease Grabbing of Citizens’ Land
  • Duch’s Lawyers Demand the Release of Their Defendant during the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s Hearing [they want to sue for the illegal detention of Duch in military prison since 1999 before he was transferred to the tribunal’s detention in 2007]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4825, 19.2.2009

  • The Number of Children with Severe Malnutrition Increases
  • Vietnamese Documentary Videos Created Strong Arguments during Duch’s Hearing [his defense lawyers opposed the inclusion of these video as new evidence, saying that they are invented videos]
  • US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Praises Telecommunication Sector in Cambodia
  • International Red Cross Encourages Improvement for Prisons in Cambodia
  • Vietnam Reacts against Human Rights Watch regarding Khmer Kampuchea Krom Case [by condemning Vietnam for cracking down on Khmer Krom people living at the Mekong delta and for restricting religious respect and freedom of expression; Vietnam said that the Khmer Kampuchea Krom community is a part that cannot be cut out from the 52 communities living in Vietnam, and Vietnam does not allow any form of discrimination and of racial divisions to happen]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

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World No-Food Day: CEDAC Said that Around 100,000 Families in Cambodia Lack Sufficient Food – Saturday, 18.10.2008

Posted on 19 October 2008. Filed under: Week 582 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 582

“Phnom Penh: At present, starving people are more numerous than before – around 150 million people. This is according to a statement of the co-chair of the People’s Coalition on Food Security, Mr. Antonio Tujan, during a World Food Day celebration on 16 October 2008.

“Dr. Yang Saing Koma, the director of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture – CEDAC – said during a press conference on 16 October 2008 at the organization’s headquarters in Phnom Penh, that around 100,000 families in Cambodia, corresponding to half a million people, lack food. In 2008, Cambodia faces the challenge of a food crisis because of the high price of food in the world. Mr. Yang Saing Koma added that CEDAC works with farmers from 2,000 villages countrywide and had discovered that 50%, or half of farmers who do rice farming, could not produce sufficient food during the year. Among 1.8 million farmers’ families doing rice farming, 500,000 to 600,000 families could not produce enough food. 800,00 families could afford to buy rice themselves over one month during the late rainy season.

“CEDAC found that this is because land to produce food does not increase. Although the agriculturally usable land of the whole country is six million hectares, but food can only be produced from more than three million hectares at the present time. Another factor is the lack of rain or that the rain comes late, and the irrigation system can serve only 40% of the total land. In Takeo and Kompong Chhnang, 80% of the farmers own rice fields smaller than one hectare per family.

“The executive director of the Pesticide Action Network Asia & the Pacific [“- Empowering People for Change -”] Ms. Sarojini Rengam, said during the World Food Day on 16 October 2008 that this was a message to show the people’s strategies to solve the food crisis. This anniversary builds up public understanding about major factors that result in food crisis [chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides], and it acts to increase the people’s voice against new policies and their effects.

“A farmer, Bouen Sophal, who is the community representative of Dang Tung district of Kampot, who also attended this anniversary celebration, reported that some farmers in Kampot face difficulties to buy chemical fertilizer from Vietnam which is expensive. After the paddy rice is cultivated, the paddy rice is sold, but it is not enough just to repay the money for the chemical fertilizer. Farmers buy chemical fertilizer from different companies and merchants, and most of them borrow money from other people or are in dept, and after they sold their paddy rice, what they get is almost insufficient to repay the dept. During each cultivation reason, farmers sell tens of thousands of tonnes of paddy rice to Vietnam. When they run out of paddy rice to eat, they buy rice from Vietnam. Vietnamese rice is expensive and contains lots of chemical substances. This seriously affects their health. Nowadays, the farmers’ community at Dang Tung have organized a cooperative and have created twenty paddy rice banks to help any farmer who lacks food during the latter part of the rainy season, to rescue them from not being able to have food.

“Dr. Koma called on the government to expand more social cultivating concession land, rather than expanding economic concessions, to encourage farmers not to continue to sell their rice fields, to expand more community markets to facilitate the sale of the farmers’ products, and to increase and enlarge the farmers’ ability to produce and to keep seeds at their communities.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4719, 18.10.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 18 October 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1771, 18.10.2008

  • Samdech Hun Sen Rejects the Intention to Send the Border Dispute Problem to the [24-25 October 2008] Asia-Europe Meeting [in Beijing, China]
  • In Five to Ten Years, Phnom Penh Will Have Grown [from 375] to 758 Square Kilometers [according to the Phnom Penh governor Mr. Kep Chuktema]
  • The UN Secretary General Calls on the World to Response to Starvation and Poverty


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #266, 18.10.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: I Still Hope that the Sam Rainsy Party Will Receive Positions in the National Assembly Commissions

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #120, 18.10.2008

  • Samdech Hun Sen: The Situation Turns Normal and Cambodia Continues to Be Patient to Solve the Problem Peacefully, Not Needing an Intervention from Other Countries
  • The Cambodian Government [through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] Reacts against the Bangkok Post of Siam [Thailand] Which Made a Publication with No Basis in Reality [Cambodia Is accused of setting new mines]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Continues to Detain Ieng Sary [a former Khmer Rouge leader] until the Day of His Trial

Note:

Actually, the Cambodian chargé d’affaires at the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok was given a document – an aide mémoire – with the request to respond after the Cambodian government would have compared notes – it is no an accusation against the Cambodian authorities, but a request “to investigate whether any individual has violated legislation banning the use of anti-personnel landmines” – describing also in detail some of the background for this request being presented in this way.

The following is quoted from the Bangkok Post:

“The Thai government viewed this incident [in which two Thai soldiers stepped on mines and lost limbs] with great alarm, as it indicated a violation of the 1997 Ottawa Convention to Ban Anti-Personnel Landmines as well as a threat to international peace,” said the deputy director-general of the Information Department, Thani Tongpakdi.

“The Thai Mines Action Centre and other non-governmental organisations found the PMN2-type mines at Phu Ma Khua…

“The mines that were retrieved by the team also appear to be newly-planted as no rust was found on them,” said Mr Thani.

“The government wants Cambodian authorities to investigate whether any individual has violated legislation banning the use of anti-personnel landmines.”

“The Phnom Penh government submitted a report to the United Nations secretary-general in 2002 noting that 240 PMN2-type landmines from a total of 3,405 were transferred from its Interior Ministry to the Cambodian Mine Action Center for development and training.

“Thailand would like the Cambodian government to verify where the remaining mines are.”


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6476, 18-19.10.2008

  • Statement of the Ministry of Foreign of Cambodia: Unilateral Mine Clearing [by Thailand at Veal Intry] Is a Violation
  • The Budget for the Military Will Be Increased during This Fourth Term, the National Assembly Plans to Permit Samdech Hun Sen to Use Expenditures for the Military
  • Fuel Prices in New York – US$69.85 – and in London – US$66.32 – Drop to Almost the Price Level before the Increases
  • A Fax from Samdech Euv [the Father King] to the Minister of the Royal Palace Samdech Kong Som Ol [to grant US$1,000 to the wives or families of the compatriots who died because of the confrontation with Thailand, or who die from accidents at the Preah Vihear Temple, the Ta Moan Temple, and the Ta Krabei Temple; for those who are injured, US$500 will be provided]
  • Old Mother [78] and [57] Daughter Were Robbed and Killed Cruelly [with a cleaver and an ax – the robbers are not yet identified – Koh Soutin, Kompong Cham]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3591, 18.10.2008

  • Khieu Kanharith Criticizes a Siamese Parliamentarian [Sukhumbhand Paripatra – สุขุมพันธุ์ บริพัตร – Member of Parliament with the Democrat Party; former Deputy Foreign Minister] Who Made the Accusation that There Might Be Forces of a Third Country Coming to Cambodia
  • International Community Expresses Concern over the Khmer-Siamese Border Dispute that Could Lead to Serious Armed Conflict [China, Malaysia, Singapore, the European Union, and the United States of America request Cambodian and Thailand to solve the dispute peacefully]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4719, 18.10.2008

  • World No-Food Day: CEDAC Said that Around 100,000 Families in Cambodia Lack Sufficient Food
  • Thai Army Commander-in-Chief [Anupong Paochinda] Tells the Thai Prime Minister [Somchai Wongsawat] to Resign


Have a look at the last editorial: If the alternative is peace or war, the option can only be peace.

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Monday, 8.9.2008: Inflation Affects the Livelihood of the Poor

Posted on 9 September 2008. Filed under: Week 577 | Tags: , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 577

“Phnom Penh: While the price of fuel increases, everything increases also, but when thr price of fuel in the world declines much, the prices of goods in Cambodia do not seem to go down, affecting the livelihood of the citizens, especially of the poor. High ranking officials of the National Bank of Cambodia have recognized signs of inflation in Cambodia.

“According to a report of the first six months of 2008, issued by the National Bank of Cambodia, inflation in Cambodia increased to 37.2%, which seriously affects the everyday life of the citizens.

“Mr. Chea Chanto, the governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, said that the major issue is the remarkably rising inflation during the early part of 2008. There was increasing inflation, because Cambodia faced the world economic situation which was bleak, and this resulted from a combinatiion of factors, such as the turmoil in the financial and credit markets of industrialized countries, as well as the rising prices of fuel and of food worldwide, particularly the increase of the price of rice.

“It is not known whether what is mentioned here is appropriate or not, but according to observations at the markets in Cambodia, it seems to be almost a habit that when prices of all types of goods increase, they later hardly decline, and if there is a decline, it is small.

“The price of fuel rose dramatically in the world from US$100 to US$147 per barrel in July 2008, and in August, the price of fuel in Cambodia increased also considerably to Riel 5,650 [approx. US$1.40] per liter. However, when prices of fuel in the world declined to US$112 (a US$35 drop), fuel prices in Cambodia declined to Riel 5,400 [approx. US$1.33] only, which seems not to be equivalent to the world influence.

“As for the prices of goods at the markets in Cambodia, they do not decline much, making people to say that when prices rise, they later hardly decline. Prices of goods seem to remain stable – Somaly rice costs Riel 4,000 [approx. US$0.99]/kg, Phka Malis rice Riel 3,100 [approx. US$0.77]/kg, Neang Menh Riel 2,500 [approx. US$0.62]/kg, pork Riel 20,000 [approx. US$4.95]/kg, beef Riel 23,000 [approx. US$5.68]/kg, chicken Riel 18,000 [approx. US$4.45], fresh pike fish Riel 15,000 [approx. US$3.70]/kg, dry salty pile fish Riel 32,000 [approx. US$7.90]/kg, and sugar Riel 2,200 [approx. US$0.54]/kg.

“Now, not only the prices of goods of daily consumption increase, but also the prices for bicycle and motorbike parking at different markets increased also.

“Ms. Srey Sitha, 49, whose husband is a civil servant with a salary of Riel 200,000 [approx. US$49.43], has four children. She was carrying a basket and went with not much hope to do the shopping. She said that she lives in Boeng Salang and was heading to the Phsar Deumkor Market to do the shopping. Before, she spent only Riel 5,000 [approx. US$1.24] when she did the shopping, but now, although having Riel 20,000 to Riel 30,000 [approx. US$7.41], she could not manage to buy delicious food.

“She added that according to her husband’s salary, more than Riel 6,000 [approx. US$1.48] can be spent per day, and as for her, the state offers her [a dependent’s allowance of] Riel 6,000 per month (before it had been Riel 3,000); how can the money be managed? At least Riel 40,000 [approx. US$9.89] to Riel 50,000 [approx. US$12.36] is needed to be spent per day (Riel 20,000 for food, Riel 10,000 [approx. US$2.47] for fuel for her children’s and her husband’s motorbikes, and Riel 10,000 for her children for additional tutoring classes) – and this does not yet include rice for breakfast.

“A teacher of a high school in Phnom Penh, who uses his free time to work as a moto taxi driver, said that his salary is Riel 300,000 [approx. US$74,15], but it is not enough for his family, because even calculating the amount of fuel and of rice for breakfast, already Riel 10,000 is gone. If he would not drive a moto taxi to earn more money, how could the life of the family be supported? He added a Khmer saying, ‘The teacher has a good wife, but when he is poor, she complains’ [mocking the teaching profession, known to receive low salaries]. ‘I don’t know whether my students want to follow me to become a teacher who is poor like this.’

“As for workers, they complain similarly. Srey Oun, 29, from Kompong Thom, works in a factory in Tuek Thla, Russey Keo, Phnom Penh. She earns between US$60 and US$70 per month, and she complained that everyday, she works like a slave of the Chinese owner, and she does not know clearly whom her work feeds more [her or her boss]. She earns US$60, out of which US$10 is paid for the rent where she stays, US$5 for utilities, US$20 per month for her meals, US$1 for rice as breakfast – corresponding to US$30 per month – and US$10 for traveling to visit her hometown every month. So there is no money left to feed herself and her parents. She said, ‘I do not want to work in the factory very much, but if I stay at home, there is nothing to do, so I just bear it until I die.’

“A retired civil servant said that if one considers the prices of goods at the current markets, there is only suffering; for him, like for other civil servants, if he would not work hard to find part-time jobs, he could not expect to survive; his stomach will shrink and the whole family will die. At present, approximately 34% of the citizens earn less than US$1 per day. However, the number of officials of the government increases, and they are wasting the state’s resoources, because too many positions and roles have been created.

“Mr. Kouy Sarun showed the gap between the rich and the poor through a poem, ‘The rich is rich with much wealth, while the poor lacks everything forever; the rich buy beef for their dogs, while the farmers who feed the cows eat Prahok.’ [preserved fish]” Amnach Reas, Vol.1, #21, 8-14.9.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 8 September 2008


Amnach Reas [the title is written in Khmer, then in Roman letters trascribed, and then in English translation: The

    People’s Power], Vol.1, #21, 8-14.9.2008
    Inflation Affects the Livelihood of the Poor


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1740, 7-8.9.2008

  • [Cambodian National Research Organization director] Dr. Heang Rithy: If Sam Rainsy Wants to Protest [against election results], He Should Not Be Stupid Like This [but he has to create a clear policy plan for the elections]
  • Man, Who Loses Court Case [over land issue], Is Ordered by Court to Unearth His Wife’s Body from the Tomb [located on the contestedland – Baribour, Kampong Chhnang]
  • Makeshift Truck Sets Off Anti-Tank Mine, Killing Five People in Koun Kriel Commune [Samraong, Oddar Meanchey on 5 September 2008]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #239, 7-9.9.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh] Son Chhay: Cambodia Might Have a New Revolution if the Cambodian People’s Party Does Not Reform the Leadership System Following Democratic Principles
  • Illegal Logging Continues Seriously in Ratanakiri


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #93, 7-8.9.2008

  • Trees in Oral Mountain Are Illegally Cut in Great Numbers [Kompong Speu]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #64, .9.2008

  • Are Neighbor’s Acts Good or Bad? At the Cham Yeam Border Crossing [in Koh Kong], Siamese [Thai border protection officials] Have Dogs Sniff Khmers from Head to Foot [checking for drugs]; at the Choam Border Crossing [in Oddar Meanchey], the Palms of Their Hands and All Ten Fingers Have to Be Fingerprinted [by the Thai immigration police] before they allowed Cambodians to enter Thailand]
  • Oral District Military Police Burned [illegal] Sawmill in the Jungle [5 September 2008 – Kompong Speu]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4688, 7-8.9.2008

  • A Bodyguard’s Gun Went Off by Itself, Killing a [27-year-old] Woman; He Was Released by the Police, but Not Sent to Court [Kien Svay, Kandal]
  • Approximately 450 to 500 Dogs Are Needed for Dog Meat Restaurants saain Phnom Penh per Day [according to a Municipal veterinary]

Click here to have a look at the last editorial – how to evaluate them: which realities do they really represent?

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