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Boeung Kak lake residents rally over rising wastewater

Boeung Kak lake residents rally over rising wastewater

ABOUT 100 residents from Boeung Kak lake’s Village 3 protested in front of City Hall on Tuesday to demand that authorities construct a drainage system in the area, as wastewater continues to encroach upon their homes.

Resident representative Tang Phuong, 53, said dirty water had completely submerged her kitchen, and that villagers wanted help to prevent floods during this year’s wet season.

“We filed a complaint to the village chief since it first started to flood in September, but [authorities] have never responded,” she said at the protest.
“When we asked them, they said that they sent our case to City Hall. Because they are still quiet, we decided to come to City Hall.”

She added that wastewater had started to rise again at the end of December, even though the dry season had set in. Sam Vanna, 50, who lives in Village 3 with her two children, said she was worried that her children would be at higher risk of disease because of the flooding.

“There is a bad smell and a lot of mosquitoes. I am afraid that [my children] will get dengue,” she said.

Neup Ly, a community empowerment officer at the Housing Rights Task Force, said the dirty water was a threat to villagers’ health and called on authorities to help them “immediately”.

“There will be serious impacts to their health because the water is very bad and will affect other families in Boeung Kak when the rains come,” he said.

He linked rising wastewater with the filling of the lake for a controversial housing and commercial development, and chided local developer
Shukaku Inc for not clearly researching the effects of the lake’s reclamation.

Local officials said they were working to pump water out of the lakeside area, but that the effort was on hold for a few days because pumps were broken.

“We already sent a letter to City Hall to ask for a permanent drainage system for them, but we didn’t get any response from City Hall yet,” said Daun Penh district Deputy Governor Sok Penhvuth. “I am waiting for City Hall to respond, too.”

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun said he was too busy to comment on Tuesday.

Local resident Suos Sopheap, 57, said she wanted officials to build permanent flood-prevention drains.

“If they use machines, we still get flooding. In the dry season we have floods already, so what will happen in the rainy season?” she said.

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