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Two houses and a restaurant were damaged in Kampong Cham town after a riverbank collapsed over the weekend
Two houses and a restaurant were damaged in Kampong Cham town after a riverbank collapsed over the weekend. The collapse was natural and not caused by sand dredging, say authorities. Photo Supplied

Riverbanks falling in K Cham

Amid a recent spate of riverbank collapses in Kampong Cham province that have so far damaged three properties, authorities are advising the owners of nearly 40 houses to move their structures.

Yesterday’s collapse in the province’s Kampong Cham commune destroyed the Khyol Tonle restaurant in front of the Mekong Hotel at about 6am, said provincial deputy police chief Khim Kimseng. Nobody was in the restaurant.

“The collapse left the road cracked . . . [and] authorities have put up barricades to prevent trucks from crossing, but small vehicles can,” Kimseng said of the road about five metres from the collapsed land.

Erosion ruined two uninhabited houses along the river in Kang Meas district’s Soukong commune on Friday and Saturday nights, said district police chief So Sarith, when a block of land about 300 metres in length fell into the river.

After hearing about the washing away of two houses and the restaurant, provincial police cooperated with local authorities, warning some families to move their houses and trying to help some affected families reconstruct their homes, said Kampong Cham Provincial police chief Pen Roth.

“The province and Cambodian Red Cross may give aid to those people later,” Roth said by phone yesterday.

Falling land occurs naturally on an annual basis, Sarith said, and is not the result of human intervention like dredging.

“The collapses are natural disasters, not because of sand dredging,” Sarith said. “Every year there are bank collapses during the flood season and during receding season.”

In an effort to avoid others losing their homes, authorities helped move 15 houses from areas in four villages in danger of collapses, Sarith said. They plan on helping residents move 14 more, and have advised about 10 other families to move their houses out of high risk areas.

Collapses are occurring because of changes in the water current, said Mao Hank, director of hydrology and river affairs in the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology.

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