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Boeung Kak families seek better compensation offers

Boeung Kak families seek better compensation offers

090728_03a
Boeung Kak villagers sign an attendance sheet before a meeting with officials.

MORE than 100 Boeung Kak lake families met with Daun Penh District Governor Sok Sambath on Monday to discuss their pending relocation from the lakeside to make room for a residential and commercial development project.

After the meeting, several families said they planned to hold out for better compensation offers.

In accordance with an agreement signed in 2007 with the municipality, local developer Shukaku Inc began pumping sand into the lake in August 2008.

So far, Boeung Kak families have received three compensation offers from city authorities: on-site accommodation, US$8,500 or a house at a relocation site in Dangkor district.

Pich Sokna, 52, a resident from Boeung Kak's Village 2, said all but 11 families, including her own, had left the village after rising water forced them to evacuate their homes.

"They want us to relocate to somewhere around Boeung Kak if we choose the on-site development plan. But we refuse to move because it's hard to believe that they will give us new apartments," she said.

"I will resist and fight for better money because $8,500 can't buy a house in the city."

Srah Chak commune Deputy Chief In Saphan said the meeting, which involved more than 100 families from villages 2 and 4, was organised to assess how many families wanted each of the three relocation options. "We just listened to their ideas," she said.

She said that nearly 900 of the estimated 1,000 families in both villages had already left Boeung Kak after accepting compensation packages, and that others were willing to relocate at the end of the year.

Residents from other parts of the Boeung Kak area have continued to express concern about the filling of the lake.

"They cannot live peacefully since there has been development," said Sok Kolab, whose house nearly collapsed into the lake on Friday because of rising water levels. "None of the authorities care about people's lives."

But In Saphan said the authorities were working to find solutions for each of the Boeung Kak families, adding that their safety was the most important issue for the city.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun said he did not know what would happen to residents whose houses collapsed Friday.

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