A 9-month-old boy who was evicted along with his family from the Borei Keila neighborhood in Phnom Penh earlier this year has died.
Family members say Chan Samnang died because of exposure to poor living conditions at a relocation site outside the city.
His body was being kept at a local hospital. Family members say they lack the money for a proper ceremony.
Chan Samang’s death was the first recorded following the Jan. 3 forced eviction of Borei Keila. He had been living with his mother, Khoun Toeurn, 33, with nearly 120 evicted families outside the city.
Speaking from a small cot covered with an old tent at the relocation site, Khoun Toeurn told VOA Khmer her son fell ill about a month after the eviction with diarrhea and fever. When she eventually brought him to the hospital, she said, “the doctor said it was too late to save him.”
She blamed his illness on the poor conditions the family found itself in after the eviction.
Som Somaly, a representative of the Borei Keila evictees, said many children were falling ill due to the conditions. The elderly too have begun to show signs of illness, she said. “We are coughing and have fevers because of the mud, the odor and the dump site,” she said.
Keo Tha, 58, who lives near Khoun Toeurn, said the government should intervene “to avoid an epidemic.”
Suy Siphan, head of Phanimex, the development company, declined to comment Tuesday.