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

  • Sihanoukville building collapse death toll rises to 19

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Sunday that the government will act against those responsible for the collapse of a seven-storey building in Sihanoukville on Saturday, which resulted in 19 dead and 24 injured as of Sunday evening. Sar Kheng said three Chinese nationals and one

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials

  • Funcinpec ‘set to sell their headquarters’, says source

    An anonymous source from Funcinpec said acting president Prince Norodom Chakravuth had held a meeting with other officials to discuss selling several of the party headquarters across the country while the party president Prince Norodom Ranariddh receives medical treatment at the Royal Phnom Penh Hospital