A Sihanoukville construction project isn’t pulling out all the stops so much as plugging all the drains, leaving neighbouring residents to stew in murky floodwaters, villagers say.
Last month, while levelling out the 20-hectare plot, construction workers dumped dirt in front of two large drainage pipes, according to locals. When rain drenched the neighbourhood on Friday, the pipes were still blocked and, with nowhere to go, the water flooded 27 residents’ houses. Waterlogged and angry, the residents blamed a local businessman and property owner they know as “Tong”.
“We don’t care if he fills his land, but he broke the public drainage system,” said Sern Seav, 53, adding that there is no back-up or alternative drain for the water to dissipate into.
Though the rain stopped on Friday evening, the water still had not gone away as of yesterday.
“With no drainage system, how can the waste water flow out? Before when it rained, in one hour it would flow away,” he said.
Sou Seang, 48, complained of a foot rash affecting the villagers, as they have to wade through almost knee-high water to get to their homes.
“The flood here is not like the flood in other provinces where it is due to rainy season. The flood here is due to a [blocked] drainage system.… It is very difficult to live and cook,” she said.
On multiple occasions since the drainage system was blocked, locals complained to authorities, who in turn did nothing, according to Seang. She said they acted surprised when a flood followed the recent rains, a claim that officials deny.
“No, we did not ignore it. We ordered the company two times to dig out the dirt blocking the drainage system and rebuild it again as usual,” said Chen Sarin, a Sihanoukville governor.
Sarin visited the flooded area yesterday, and told the Post that he had talked with the families and workers and expected the problem to be resolved soon.
An owner of the construction site could not be reached for comment yesterday.