Happy Cambodian New Year! It was celebrated this past weekend in Cambodia. This time of the year represents the end of the harvesting season. The farmers enjoy the fruits of their harvest and relax before the rainy season begins. In the US, there will be celebrations happening all month long and we'll be going to Lowell, MA next week. The photo was taken by Mongkol who is now back in Cambodia after spending two years in graduate school here in Boston.
Unfortunately, sometimes holidays in Cambodia bring bad news and this New Year's there was a devastating fire as reported by blogger Jinja.
The Russey Keo area has experienced a devastating fire, with over 200 homes burned, taking several hours to extinguish. Agence France Presse estimates ‘thousands’ are now homeless. We’ll never know for sure if it was an accident, or intentional; but the timing stinks. Organizations addressing housing issues such as LICADHO, Bridges Across Borders and Teang Tnaut will tell you that this is not the first community that has experienced a fire as residents attempt to assert their rights.
You can see the aftermath of the fire in this YouTube footage.
I was looking to see if there were any efforts to help the fire victims and have not come across any. However, on an unrelated note - there is a campaign for One World Cambodia to raise money for some organizations. The One World Cambodia program is designed to introduce young people (ages 18-25) to human rights and development work on the ground in Cambodia. During the nine-week program (June 1-August 1), young leaders will participate in a human rights, development and leadership workshop, then volunteer with Cambodian NGOs. One of the organizations, Bridges Across Borders, works on housing issues in Cambodia.