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- 29/03/2020 10:23 AM
5,000 riels: What strange title for a column, the informed reader you are may think.
5,000 riels: Of what is it the price, you may wonder, intrigued after all?
You will calculate in your head that this is more or less the price of two packs of noodles, a coffee, an errand by tuk-tuk, a few fruits, a beer or a few eggs.
In the end, you will tell yourself that 5,000 riels—about $1.25—is a very small amount and that it was really not worth writing a column to talk about it.
Yes, you are right: 5,000 riels is a very small amount, which is exactly why it is worth a column.
Because 5,000 riels per day is the amount beyond which poor families are not eligible for support in the government program set up to help the population during the pandemic.
According to the authorities, some 560,000 families may be eligible for this funding, which will provide them with $20 or $30, depending on whether they live in Phnom Penh or in the provinces, for a 2-month period.
Today, these families live on less than 5,000 riels per day.
After all these years of economic growth and development, extreme poverty has greatly been reduced but has not disappeared.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a harsh light on this tragic reality embodied in this amount of 5,000 riels.
5,000 riels. Per day. Per family.