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Siem Reap families face eviction after New Year

Siem Reap Province
MORE than 25 families in Siem Reap’s Salakamroek commune are to be evicted shortly after Khmer New Year to make way for the expansion of a road, officials and villagers said.

Members of some of the affected families on Tuesday expressed concern that the proposed relocation site was too remote and – because it is in the middle of a forest – uninhabitable.

Chat Sinath, 40, who has five children, said she had been disappointed when she visited the relocation site, 32 kilometres from her current village, on Sunday. “There is no market. There is no school. There is no water,” she said.

Like others who stand to be affected by the road project, she asked for compensation, saying US$7,000 was an acceptable amount.

“We live here. We do not want to move there. We need to exchange the land for some money,” she said.

Other families have asked for as much as $10,000 in compensation.

Tep Bunchhay, Siem Reap city governor, confirmed that the eviction would happen after Khmer New Year but could not provide a specific date. He said he had submitted a proposal to provincial Governor Sou Phirin for the evicted families to receive some money to cover transportation costs, but said full compensation payments would not be offered.

“We have had experiences with families taking money and then going to live on more public land,” he said.

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