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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Eviction fears: Villagers on notice over flood remedy

Eviction fears: Villagers on notice over flood remedy

The filling in of a canal in the capital’s Chbar Ambpov district has prompted local villagers to push back against looming displacement, district officials and community representatives have told the Post.

The move, which will replace the Prek Barang canal with a new road and sewage system, is intended to relieve endemic flooding in the area.

“We don’t want to move, because we’ve lived here for 20 years,” said 58-year-old Oeun Nhor, of Ta Ngov village, the main area affected. Villagers protested over the weekend citing fears of relocation without compensation, she explained.

On Tuesday, District Governor Eang Siphan met with nine commune representatives and offered them either on-site housing across from the canal or land in an undisclosed area of the city. Villagers requested on-site housing, but Bou Vathana, deputy director of administration in the district, said it “wasn’t a guarantee”.

At least 27 families along the canal will be displaced, and 100 others affected in neighbouring communes. While the proposed new road is intended to be 16 metres wide, the existing canal spans just eight metres. Sou Savoeun, of Equitable Cambodia’s housing rights unit, said the proposed width was unneccesarily disruptive.

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