Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - River families face eviction

River families face eviction

Community huts in Stung Treng province that will be removed by authorities in line with an upcoming beautification project. Photo supplied
Community huts in Stung Treng province that will be removed by authorities in line with an upcoming beautification project. Photo supplied

River families face eviction

Nearly 100 families living along a riverbank where the Mekong and Sekong rivers meet in Stung Treng province have been told they must vacate the area no later than July to pave the way for a landscape beautification project.

Bun Nary, Stung Treng district governor, said Provincial Governor Mom Saroeun wants to build a concrete riverbank to prevent landslides and to beautify the area.

About a quarter of the families don’t have any other place to call home, while the remaining 70 percent have other accommodations, but live in the area temporarily to fish.

Nary on Friday had a meeting with the villagers where he informed them of the plans, and ticking clock. “Some of the families have [other] land, but they don’t live on it. They just come to live here [because] it’s easy for them to fish,” he said. “But there are other people who truly have no land.”

Men Kung, spokesman for the provincial governor, said officials have been informing residents of the new plans, though they recognise many villagers have been living there for a long time.

Provincial authorities will grant villagers a social land concession in Samaki commune in the same district, Kung said. The new area, where families will each receive a plot of land measuring 30-by-20 metres, is about 12 kilometres away from where they live now.

“We will support them in transporting their belongings,” he said, adding that the new location has electricity, but no clean water yet.

Officials at this point are only able to provide land and can’t afford to also provide villagers financial compensation to build their new homes, Kung added.

Villager Nob Samai, 55, said he had been living on the riverbank since 1981 and that his family is barely making ends meet.

“If they could give us financial support to build a house, it would be really good, because when we relocate, our [homes] will be demolished,” he said.

Kung said officials weighed in the development project versus the impact to residents, which is why they will provide land for those who don’t have another place to live.

“We need to develop the area,” he said. “It’s not our national action plan to just clear out the people living at the riverbank.”

Last week The Post reported that some 100 families living on the riverbank in Kampong Chhnang will also have to relocate soon to allow for a garden development in the area.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • 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

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer