The government has decided to rebuild the Chbar Ampov market roof following an appeal from vendors in the wake of a blazing inferno last week that destroyed many of their stalls.
Last Thursday night, an electrical fault sparked a fire at the market, located in Chbar Ampov district near the Monivong Bridge.
Neither fatalities nor injuries were reported in the blaze, which started at about 11pm and raged on until Friday morning, but a total of 646 of the market’s 1,447 stalls were completely destroyed.
On Sunday, more than 600 vendors asked the government to build a new roof for the market, noting that they would rebuild their own stalls as they met with authorities at Chbar Ampov pagoda.
On Tuesday evening, Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng went to Chbar Ampov market to meet with vendors and find a solution.
Mr Sreng told the vendors that their appeal for a new roof had been accepted by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has also instructed authorities to upgrade infrastructure around the market during the repairs as well.
“The authority will keep the location of each vendor the same, so no one can secretly try to build more stalls to increase their own benefits,” Mr Sreng told the vendors. “If anyone sees this happening, please inform us and action will be taken.”
Mr Sreng added that no money would be collected from the vendors to pay for the new roof, but noted that the stalls must be rebuilt by the merchants themselves.
Chan Thy, a 32-year-old vendor, said that most of the merchants were very happy with the outcome.
Ms Thy said that vendors were worried in the wake of the fire that their marketplace would be sold off for development.
“We did not want to sell,” she said. “We want to keep working here. Some vendors lost nearly $10,000. So, we could not rebuild the roof ourselves and are happy the government will help.”
The Chbar Ampov market chief Kouch Chamnan told local media that damages from the fire likely amounted to $4 million.