Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Population growth, climate hazards for capital outlined




Population growth, climate hazards for capital outlined

People make their way through floodwaters in Menchey district’s Boeung Tompun commune on Tuesday after heavy morning rains hit the capital.
People make their way through floodwaters in Menchey district’s Boeung Tompun commune on Tuesday after heavy morning rains hit the capital. Hong Menea

Population growth, climate hazards for capital outlined

Phnom Penh’s infrastructure must be urgently improved if the city is to prepare for the coming population boom and the worst impacts of climate change, speakers said yesterday at a conference on urban development organised by the Czech non-profit People in Need.

As climate change affects the ability of rural populations to make a living, the capital’s population will continue to grow steadily, People in Need’s disaster management and risk reduction program manager Tep Sokha told the audience.

An increase in rainfall, meanwhile, is making agricultural work less viable, and big development projects, such as large hydropower dams, will continue to displace people from their land.

And as the population grows, severe flooding, fires, traffic accidents and waste management problems will become even more pressing issues.

“Tens of thousands of households will be affected by climate change,” Sokha said. “People always say that at the Year of the Snake, we will have a big rain – so, every 10 years. But now we see that 2011 was the biggest rain in 100 years, it’s getting worse and worse all the time.”

Many of Phnom Penh’s communes lack a comprehensive land-use plan to deal with the changes, and about 12 percent of the city still lacks basic latrines.

Also speaking at the conference, Fouad Bendimerad, of the Earthquake Mega Cities Initiative, noted that poor people are particularly at risk of losing everything during a disaster.

“There are no insurance policies for the poor. They aren’t there to cover you if you lose your livelihood,” said Bendimerad, who noted he himself had worked in insurance for 11 years. “The government has to provide a safety net for the poor.”

A 2015 report by People in Need found that “many urban poor settlements in Phnom Penh are located in disaster prone areas such as riverbanks, lakes and garbage disposal sites”.

Speaking to reporters at the conference yesterday, Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Eang Ony said the city is working to solve land management, traffic, sewage and rainwater drainage issues.

City Hall is also working with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency to complete a 2017-2035 master plan for Phnom Penh, he said.

“We are working on things like installing more canals and trying to re-erect the dikes around Phnom Penh,” Ony said in an interview. “We’re going to renovate all of the canals around Phnom Penh.”

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,