Authorities in Kampong Cham province’s Kang Meas district ordered nearly 20 families to move their houses further from the river yesterday after a sudden bank collapse destroyed eight houses in an area used for sand dredging, residents and officials in Angkor Ban commune said.
Saly Kha, 43, one of the villagers whose houses were dragged into the river by the 185-metre long, 100-metre wide swath of land on Monday, said sand dredging vessels were visible in Angkor Ban every day.
“You know, the bank dropped down 30 metres; it is so steep,” she said.
“We did not get the reason [for the collapse] from the authorities, but there are a few boats dredging the sand to sell it every day.”
Authorities instructed the remaining families to urgently move their homes for the time being, she added.
“I moved to live temporarily with my relatives for safety,” Kha continued. “Luckily, my son knew it and escaped from our house when we heard the collapse.”
Another resident, Sren Sen, 55, said his house was damaged, and his fishing boat and equipment crushed when the bank collapsed onto them.
“Now the residents are afraid of it,” he said. “Last night one more house collapsed into the river. The collapse destroyed our houses and property.”
Angkor Ban commune chief Seng Khoy confirmed residents had been asked to move, but denied the landslide was the result of sand dredging, saying it was simply a natural disaster and noting that no one had been killed.
Multiple villages in Phnom Penh and Kandal province have reported riverbank collapses thought to be caused by sand dredging in recent months.
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