Nearly 200 vendors who saw their market shops burned to the ground earlier this month in Mondulkiri province’s Sen Monorom town have decided to rebuild their stalls themselves and are urging the government to quickly issue land boundaries.
On February 10, a fire ripped through the town’s market, destroying 220 of 279 shops inside and leading to the death of two people, a 26-year-old vendor and an 11-year-old.
Meoung Sokhum, 37, a vendor at the market, said stall owners have grown tired of waiting for provincial authorities to rebuild the market and want to begin constructing their stalls again themselves.
Ms Sokhum said the vendors wanted provincial authorities to speed up the measuring of boundaries so they can clearly know where to build their stalls.
“To avoid any disputes with other vendors over building their stalls, the authority needs to measure the land exactly, and then we can build the stalls again ourselves,” she said.
Ms Sokhum added that most of the vendors were going to struggle to find the finances to rebuild the stalls on their own, but must do so in order to quickly get their businesses back on track and support their families.
“It is really difficult to find $5,000 to build my stall, but I have no choice because we need our stall on time to run our business to support our family,” she said.
Long Vibol, governor of Sen Monorom town, said authorities had measured 90 percent of the land already and vendors must be patient until the work is completed.
“We are also preparing more roads, drainage systems, water pumps and electricity systems for the market to avoid any fire disasters in the future,” he said.
Provincial police chief Ouk Samnag said remnants from the fire had already been cleared from the land. “It was a large fire that left a lot of destruction in its wake and we have already cleaned up all the rubble,” he said.