The Defence Ministry is preparing 300 soldiers, 100 water trucks and 30 water pumps to be deployed in order to address shortages of water during the dry season.
Spokesman General Chhum Sucheat yesterday said the ministry had ordered Transport Brigade 99 and the general logistics department to provide manpower and resources.
“So if anyone anywhere in the Kingdom lacks water, we will send our military forces to supply water for them,” Gen Sucheat said. “Moreover, all RCAF provincial forces have also prepared their forces for this problem.”
“We have prepared our forces now and we are studying the land in order to find sources of water in affected areas,” he added, noting that his ministry has coordinated with the Water Resources Ministry to identify critical areas. “Our ministry is concerned with this issue and we will cooperate with other government officials to help people in need.”
According to RCAF’s Facebook account, Major General Hul Sam Onn, commander of Transport Brigade 99, was ordered to lead the mission.
“Following the recommendation of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Defence Minister General Tea Banh, Major General Hul Sam Onn, commander of Transport Brigade 99, must prepare 300 soldiers, 100 water-trucks and 30 water pumps in order to supply provincial residents with water during the dry season,” it said.
Roeun Noeun, a Battambang province resident, said his area needs the government’s help.
“I think my area will be faced with drought,” Mr Noeun said. “I think that the Defence Ministry has prepared forces to help supply water to people and it’s a good plan. I support it.”
Um Reatrey, deputy Beanteay Meanchey provincial governor, yesterday said his area is not facing drought, but farmers were told not to plant rice this season in order to save water.
“Some villagers are prone to water shortages because they farm rice three times a year,” Mr Reatrey said. “If they follow our advice, they will not lack water.”
“We support the Defence Ministry and their plan to deploy forces to help with water,” he added. “If our province lacks water, we will cooperate with the ministry.”
Chan Youttha, spokeswoman with the Water Resources Ministry, could not be reached for comment yesterday. However, Mr Youttha last month said provincial water department officials are going from commune to commune in order to monitor the situation.
“We need time to study the problem and study the feasibility of building a reservoir,” he said. “However, it depends on our budget because we have to prioritise critical areas.”
Mr Youttha said the provinces of Battambang, Koh Kong, Prey Veng, Kampong Thom, Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear are expected to be hit by droughts.