Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Effects of eviction run deep

Effects of eviction run deep

Effects of eviction run deep

111219_05
Yan El, 56, who lived in cental Phnom Penh before being evicted in 2009, sits in her hut in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district, in a district known as the Blue Tent Community. Photo by: Heng Chivoan

THE latest report on forced evictions from Phnom Penh is unlikely to be the last, as it notes that more than 32,000 residents of 74 communities face the threat of joining the estimated 85,000 people who have been evicted from the capital over the past decade.

The report from the Housing Rights Task Force, released on Friday, calls for a “deep and concerted effort” to stop forced evictions, noting that “many  evictees develop distrust in the political system, and suffer from emotional, physical and psychological trauma that are at times so bad that attempted suicides are regular occurrences once eviction orders have been served”.

In addition to demolishing homes, forced evictions destroy social networks, which are especially vital for the urban poor, according to the report, which assesses the economic, employment, education, health, food security and environmental status of communities facing eviction and those who have already been evicted. It is based on research conducted in October.

The unemployment rate nearly doubled for people evicted from the capital, from 16.4 to 35.7 per cent, the report found, citing the distance from workplaces as a major factor. Indebtedness also surged after evictions, with the need for money to purchase healthcare and food being primary drivers of this, the report added.

Evictees face higher rates of hunger, the report said, noting that more than half of those interviewed had “experienced hunger but didn’t eat because … there wasn’t enough food” during the three-month period prior to the survey. It did not state precisely how often those interviewed were hungry, but said they were hungry “several times, every month, every week and every day”. Household incomes fell from an average of US$267 per month prior to eviction to $204 after relocation, the report said.

Even before eviction, communities at risk of relocation experience “insecurity and uncertainty”, which leads to illness, reduces income and increases the likelihood that children will drop out of school or be forced to repeat classes, the report found.

Ek Tha, spokesman for the Council of Ministers and deputy director of its press department, said relocation was a complex issue, and that in many cases people benefited after being shifted from cramped and unhygienic “slums” to new sites outside the city.

“We are helping the people, not hurting them,” he said, adding “when we relocate people, we do not send them to hell”. He said he had personally visited relocation sites and found that people there were enthusiastic about their new homes.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished