A new research study by Sahmakum Teang Tnaut titled “COVID-19 and the help provided” assesses the Government’s actions during the COVID-19 pandemic and compares them to community requests for help. The research process consisted of interviews with 45 community members. On 28 April 2020, communities from around the country went to meet with Government officials to submit a joint request signed by 141 communities calling for help at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Communities from around the country submitted five key requests to the Government in 2020, and this research measures the Government’s responses and actions. The 5 requests to the government are: Distribute preventative medical supplies to the most vulnerable; Ease or suspend debt to MFIs, banks, and private money-leaders; Rental suspension, and suspension of all taxes on sales; Stay at home payments; and Relocation and eviction issues.
This research finds that the Government did not respond to all the requests for help from communities. The Government reacted to help communities in some ways and did not react at all to other requests. The Government provided medical supplies to communities, offered payments, and enacted policies to reduce MFI debts. However, communities reported that the Government did not respond to requests to stop evicting communities even during a global pandemic. At least 11 communities from around Phnom Penh were evicted or issued with a notice to evict during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government did not suspend rental payments despite direct requests from 37 of the 45 communities that STT interviewed. The request was made because income for workers throughout communities had decreased or workers had lost their jobs. Many families who rented houses or areas to sell or do business had less income to pay rental fees.
Mrs. Lay Srey Met, representative of Prek Ta Kong 60m community, said:
“During the COVID-19 outbreak, my income went down because sales were not as good as before. Because there are so many difficulties in daily life. “I and all community members have submitted a request to the government, but we have not received any assistance or response from the government”
You can find out more in our report, which can be accessed at: https://teangtnaut.org/?lang=en
For further information please contact:
Mr. Soeung Saran, Executive Director of Sahmakum Teang Tnaut.
Tel: 089 666 013
Mrs. Prak Sotheary, Research Advocacy Advisor at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut.
Tel: 012 464 500