Three houses collapsed into the Mekong River in Kratie’s Chhlong district after a riverbank gave way on Monday amid recent unseasonable heavy rains.
Twenty-eight other houses in the predominately Cham village have been pre-emptively dismantled following the collapse, according to Meas Kunmony, district deputy governor.
“Three families faced the most serious damage, but none of the homeowners are hurt or injured. All of those houses have to be dismantled,” Kunmony said.
He said that the riverbank collapse was caused by heavy rainfall, which eroded the soil and caused the land and houses to slide into the river.
While the rainy season technically ended in October, Cambodia has been experiencing high levels of rainfall uncharacteristic for this time of year. Some experts have linked the erratic rain patterns to climate change.
The homeless families are are now living temporarily with relatives while authorities plan for relocation. Authorities have advised them to file a request for a social land concession in nearby Chet Borei district.
Kunmony said that each family will be granted a 1,200-square-metre plot of land at the new location before the end of the month.
Duong Sothy, Chhlong district police chief, said authorities are monitoring the situation for further danger to local homes.
The collapse of one of the homes was captured on video and posted to Facebook. The video depicts the destruction as a woman cries, saying “my house fell into the river and I have no shelter now”.
After the incident, Red Cross Cambodia brought food and other supplies to the 11 families it deemed most in need.