Kratie Chhlong Stung Treng

Kratie province

Kratie is a province (its capital sharing the same name) located in the northeast of Cambodia, bordering Stung Treng, Mondulkiri, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham and Vietnam. Kratie has several temples built in the 8th century such as Khvas Pi, Pram, and Koh Kring that has perfect deities, ancient halls, Khmer ancient houses, and French-style buildings. The area near Kratie along the Mekong River was one of the most densely populated regions of the pre-Angkorian era of Cambodia. Lon Nol was the province's governor in 1945 and during the Vietnam and Cambodian Civil Wars, as well as the subsequent Vietnamese presence against Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, intense fighting took place in Kratie. Operation Menu (1969-1970 US bombing campaign) targeting Vietnamese logistics in Cambodia and Laos, resulted in heavy bombardment of Kratie. Recovering unexploded ordnance and de-mining has been a major focus since the mid-2000s. In December 1978, Vietnamese forces captured Kratie to fight against Khmer Rouge. About 140km of Mekong River flows from the north to the south of the province which is home to Irrawaddy dolphins, fish, and birds. The flow of the Mekong varies greatly and there are hundreds of seasonally flooded islands in the river. The province is mostly covered in dense forest, yet craters from Operation Menu filled with water are still visible in the countryside. Some land in Kratie is used for agriculture, though a smaller percentage than elsewhere in Cambodia. The province has a monsoonal climate, with a cool season from Nov-Mar, a hot season from Mar-May, and a rainy season from May-Oct. Flooding is still frequent in Kratie and the Mekong can overflow by as much as 4m during the rainy season. Kratie is known for its attractive riverside scenery, green villages, paddies, and river dolphins. Its fisheries are part of the Upper Mekong River Zone, which is an important support for migratory species and subsistence fishing. Forests in Kratie tend to be open and less dense than elsewhere in Cambodia as they are generally made up of deciduous trees that lose their leaves during the dry season. Most Kratie residents are subsistence farmers or fishers, with 78% of its residents employed in agriculture. 30% of households live on less than US$1 per day and the province's poverty rate is lower than the national average. Most soil in Kratie is poor and the province primarily grows perennial industrial crops like rubber. Kratie has the potential to be an ecotourism destination, although its road system is poorly developed. Malaria and dengue fever rose sharply in the mid-2000s, largely attributed to climate change and Malaria is hyperendemic in Kratie's forests.  The infant mortality rate of 97/1,000 and child mortality rate of 80/1,000 are significantly higher than the national average (68/1,000 and 53/1,000, respectively).   Although Kratie is one of the poorest provinces in Cambodia, in 2015 it was ranked fifth in the nation for the high-school exam pass rate. Schools struggle to attract teachers to the poor and overwhelmingly rural province. Teachers are sent to the province from Phnom Penh, the nation's capital, but they are new teachers who see an opportunity to pass a teacher's exam that is less rigorous in remote areas. These new teachers rarely stay more than a year or two due to the low pay, leaving local officials having to do without and students often having to continue studies by themselves. There is a substantial Vietnamese minority in Kratie province as well as seven indigenous groups. Approximately 70% of the province's residents live along the Mekong River and the area beyond the river is sparsely populated. Approximately 8% of Kratie’s population is indigenous and 70% of the population is rural.

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