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12 Mai 2021

David Hutt, DW

Cambodia: Govt.'s harsh COVID-19 measures lead to food insecurity; people living in lockdown areas protests while CSOs concern about imbalanced measures

"COVID: Cambodia's harsh lockdown aggravates food insecurity", 12 May 2021

After having seemingly triumphed over the COVID-19 pandemic …, Cambodia has been sent into a tailspin. The setback follows a major outbreak …, which has now seen cumulative case numbers rise above 20,000 and more than 130 deaths…

Businesses closed, markets were ordered to shut and street-side vendors were banned, leading many to accuse the government of causing a humanitarian crisis. Some even said people were close to starvation in the capital city.

On the streets of Phnom Penh, where public protests are rarely allowed by the authorities, residents demonstrated against the lockdown measures. They claimed they were unable to access food supplies even after the government promised to provide free food parcels to all households….

…, more than 100 people protested in the streets of Phnom Penh's Meanchey district over claims they were going hungry. A separate protest the next day ended when the authorities arrived with food donations.

The following weekend, Amnesty International warned that Cambodia's "mismanaged lockdown has brought them to the precipice of a humanitarian crisis."

The government rejected this criticism. "In Cambodia, no Cambodian is starving yet," the ruling party's spokesman Sok Eysan told local media ... "COVID-19 has had devastating consequences for people and workers in every country in the world."

… Moreover, there are concerns that food insecurity could spike in specific areas, such as prisons. "We are alarmed by recent reports of a COVID-19 outbreak in Sihanoukville prison," said Yu Hah of Amnesty, referring to a large city on Cambodia's southern coast…