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Sand blamed for lakeside flooding

THE pumping of sand into Boeung Kak lake has impaired local drainage systems, leading to the flooding of about 50 houses since June 10, a representative of families living in the area said Monday.

Duong Sim, deputy chief of Village 3 in Srah Chak commune, said homes there had never flooded before a private company began pumping sand into the lake, which is slated for a massive development project.

The floods following rains this month have already affected about 50 homes, he said.

“The homes in our village have been flooded for more than a week after the rainfall this month,” he said.

“We are very concerned, because Boeung Kak lake is being filled in, and the new drainage system is not yet completed.”

He added that a total of 283 homes could ultimately be vulnerable to flooding.

He urged authorities to force Shukaku Inc – the company that holds a lease to the 133-hectare site – to complete a new drainage system and to release water that has accumulated throughout the village.

But Nov Saroeun, chief of the drainage and pumping unit at the Municipal Public Works and Transport Department, said Monday that the responsibility for building a drainage system lies solely with Shukaku, and that officials have no control over whether or when it will be completed.

“I do not have the power to urge the company owners to make the drainage system,” he said.

Representatives of the company, headed by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin, could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Villager Chea Siphana, 42, said she was concerned that the flooding could pose a health hazard.

“We are very worried, because snakes and centipedes have crawled into our house,” she said. “We are facing diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and other health issues, and there are many mosquitoes.”

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