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

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants