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Siem Reap river families agree to relocate

Siem Reap river families agree to relocate

More than 400 makeshift homes along the Siem Reap riverbank will be relocated in April as part of a planned environmental cleanup project, said Oeun Pov, deputy governor of Siem Reap city, on Tuesday.

Oeun Pov said 274 families living on the riverbank between Spean Neak Bridge and the former Provincial Tourism Department will be relocated to Veal Village in Sambuor commune, along with 173 other families living in homes near the Siem Reap Crocodile Farm.

“The 447 families agree that the provincial government has tried to find a mutually acceptable resolution for this issue,” he said.  

Each family relocated to Veal Village, which lies about 7 kilometres outside the town, will receive a 7-by-15-metre plot of land and US$200 cash from the provincial government as well as “unspecified assistance” in moving their belongings

The provincial government has also promised to provide sanitation assistance and will install a toilet on each plot and build wells in the new community.

Oeun Pov said the relocation project would be funded by a $40-million grant from the Korea International Cooperation Agency under an agreement between Cambodia and South Korea to clean up the Siem Reap River. Veal Village already had its own hospital and a police presence, and the provincial government had plans to install more electricity infrastructure in the area, he said.

“I felt happy with what I will get from the provincial authority, because I do not own the land where I live on the riverbank,” said Saroum Chivon, a cloth seller living near Wat Polanka.

But grocery seller Chea Meung Sokthy said the US$1,214 in compensation she will receive for relocating her business from nearby the Siem Reap Crocodile Farm pales in comparison with the price she paid for the land. “I bought this land for $3,500 when my daughter was two years old in order to live here and sell groceries to support myself. I knew that it was government land but I had no land, so I decided to buy it,” she said.

“I don’t know whether there will be a market and school or not, but I hope that I still can run my business when I move to the new place. We also really need a hospital. I hope that the new village will have one.”

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