Chhay Kimhon (second from right) speaks to reporters near the Municipal Hall yesterday after representatives of 117 families evicted from Borei Keila in January met officials to discuss their housing claims. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post
Homeless Borei Keila evictees who have been living in tents surrounded by garbage since authorities bulldozed their homes in January pleaded outside Phnom Penh Municipal Hall for housing yesterday.
Representative Chhay Kimhorn said the families could no longer stand living in tents and stairwells infested with worms, flies and rotting garbage.
“We need the Phnom Penh municipal authority to quicken its step in tackling the problem for 117 families in Borei Keila community, because we, and especially our children, cannot stand such living conditions,” she said.
A meeting with two municipal officials, legal and human rights officer Hok Horlim and deputy administrative director Tiv Kimpiseth, had left her with little hope that the matter would be resolved any time soon.
“They didn’t guarantee when resolution will be reached but added that they are just intermediaries . . . and the real solution-maker is their superior,” she said, adding that this was “just an excuse” to postpone things further.
Development firm Phan Imex signed a contract in 2004 to build 10 high-rises at Borei Keila for 1,776 families in exchange for nearby land they lived on. The company finished only eight high-rises.
Fellow Borei Keila evictee Ou Bunla, 33, said the community could not accept City Hall’s claim that only 31 families of police and six other families were left to be compensated.
“The 117 families are Borei Keila residents suffering from the eviction of January 3 and we ourselves have not yet been granted a house,” she said.
Tiv Kimpiseth, city hall’s deputy administrative director, told the Post yesterday he was unaware of the years-long dispute.
“I just took up this position a few days ago,” he said.
Phan Imex, backed by the municipal authority, used security guards to destroy and bulldoze more than 200 houses on January 3.
More than 100 families were sent to relocation sites in Kandal province and on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, while the others remained at Borei Keila in protest.