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Foes using water woes for gain: PM

Prime Minister Hun Sen and authorities prepare to distribute water to families affected by drought in Banteay Meanchey province.
Prime Minister Hun Sen and authorities prepare to distribute water to families affected by drought in Banteay Meanchey province.

Foes using water woes for gain: PM

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday doubled down on his call for political parties to help ease the drought, suggesting his opponents were using the situation for political gain while also floating novel remedies, including damming the Tonle Sap.

“[I] took the opportunity to appeal to some politicians and political parties to stop exploiting natural disaster in Cambodia for their benefit,” he said. “When the country was affected by floods, they [also] accused the government of deforestation as well as drought.”

Asked to comment, opposition spokesman Yim Sovann said: “It is the obligation of the ruling party to take responsibility for the people when the country faces natural disasters.” Deforestation and filling in ponds and lakes weren’t relief measures, he added, tongue in cheek.

Hun Sen also said he would look into cloud seeding and blocking the flow of the Tonle Sap river to create reservoirs – suggestions he received from citizens online.

An environmental expert who did not wish to be identified by name said anything that restricted the river’s flow would hurt the environment and make remaining water less safe.

Additional reporting by Igor Kossov

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