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Children float along floodwaters in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district last week
Children float along floodwaters in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district last week. HONG MENEA

Government orders capital pipe clear-up

A city-wide campaign to clear drainage pipes inundated with garbage build-up aggravated by seasonal rains will begin on Saturday, the municipality announced.

All nine districts are to report the number of pipes in need of service, according to a statement released on Friday, which adds that residents are expected to participate in restoration efforts.

The move comes a month after widespread irritation over flooding – often finding voice via social media – prompted an emergency meeting by Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Pa Socheatevong.

While the recent election and incumbent security issues were tagged as reasons for lacklustre maintenance, “we cannot delay the drainage restoration work anymore”, the statement reads.

Men Sophen, deputy chief of Phnom Penh’s drainage unit, said removing refuse from the drainage system has become a daily occurrence.

“We have to take rubbish out of the pipes to ease water flow,” he said.

Responsibility for the drainage system improvement project is being handled at the commune level, with the Department of Public Works and Transport and City Hall cited as “technical consultants”.

Funds for the restoration project will be split 50-50 between the municipality and individual commune budgets.

The system’s capacity to channel wastewater and heavy rains outside city limits is in danger of being overwhelmed by a rapidly growing population, which had increased 12.4 per cent between 2008 and this year, according to preliminary results of the nation’s mid-census national survey released this month.

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