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Pond- Poisoned Villagers Now Face Water Shortage

Villagers in Bantey Mean Chey province who were poisoned last month are now facing a water shortage, as they are avoiding a potentially toxic pond in favor of distant water sources.

Nearly 700 people from Malay village suffered skin rashes, diarrhea and double vision after drinking from a local pond.

Villagers are afraid to drink from the pond and now travel up to 5 kilometers to reach clean water, the Malay village chief told VOA.

Prices for bottles of water are increasing, and neighbors' wells are beginning to dry up, the village chief said.

The Malay story is just one example of how people worldwide sometimes struggle to obtain potable water, as World Water Day approaches. Not every Cambodian village has a poisoned pond, but many lack wells.

"Actually, the money to dig wells comes from foreign aid," Minister of Urban Development Lu Laysreng told VOA. "Our department does not have the money to dig tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands wells."

"When we travel to rural areas, the people complain about a lack of water and say that Cambodia still needs clean water and hygiene," World Bank spokesman Bou Sareoun said.