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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Artist loses studio to flooding

Artist loses studio to flooding

8-Story-2.jpg
8-Story-2.jpg

Sasha Constable blames unregulated development for poor drainage

SASHA CONSTABLE

Sasha Constable’s home studio was claimed by floods while she was out of the country.

Artist and honourary British Consul Sasha Constable is back from a European sojourn and she's mad as hell.

Her house and art studio have been flooded for the first time ever.

Much of her stored artwork has been ruined and thrown out, while some of her neighbours have had to move out.

While surrounding areas have traditionally been flood-prone during the rainy season, her home in the long-term expatriate stronghold of Salakomroeuk commune has been high and dry - until now. She's not sure what's caused the change, but suspects rapid housing development is responsible.

She told the Post, "It started flooding last Friday night and it's quite serious.

"This area has been badly hit, and I'm concerned that sanitation is going to become a big problem.

"I've talked to a lot of people here and there have been a lot of areas closer to Wat Damnak that have flooded before during very heavy rains, but this is the first time our area has gone under because it's much higher."

She describes the tract she lives in as a "triangle of properties" with a canal waterway at the back, and another canal in front. The rear canal flooded over the weekend, and now the water level in the front canal is also alarmingly high.

Constable said she thinks the new flooding is due to unplanned, unmonitored development.

"There has been a lot of new building here. The road has been widened by two metres, which means that the canal has been filled in by two metres of soil. That may reduce flow and drainage space, but I'm not sure whether that's the sole cause.

"Whatever the cause, there needs to be some urban planning,  and if the building is to continue, water drainage should become a top priority."

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