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Sesan residents settle on new relocation site

Homes in Srekor village were dismantled in April in anticipation of flooding caused by the Lower Sesan II dam.
Homes in Srekor village were dismantled in April in anticipation of flooding caused by the Lower Sesan II dam. Eliah Lillis

Sesan residents settle on new relocation site

Over a hundred families in Stung Treng province’s Srekor and Kbal Romea communes said yesterday that they have located around 2,000 hectares to relocate to when a scheduled test run for the Lower Sesan II dam this week leaves their villages flooded.

The villagers have refused compensation to relocate to resettlement sites for people affected by the controversial dam and were at risk of seeing their villages submerged when the dam’s doors are closed on July 15 for technical checks. The dam is scheduled to be inaugurated in September.

Dam Samnang, a community representative for Kbal Romea, said the villagers had found around 2,000 hectares of land above the expected flood line and 5 kilometres from their current villages.

“That hill will not be flooded, so the people see it as a safe place. About 50 homes and huts have [already] been built there,” Samnang said, adding that location had forests as well as land for farming.

A man rides past houses under construction at a relocation site for villagers affected by the Lower Sesan II dam in Stung Treng province in 2015.
A man rides past houses under construction at a relocation site for villagers affected by the Lower Sesan II dam in Stung Treng province in 2015. Heng Chivoan

Yet he said he was concerned about villagers who had few resources to relocate their lives and possessions to the new site, and required some assistance.

The villagers have also opposed the dismantling of the 252-metre Sre Pok Bridge ahead of the dam test, saying they would be cut off if it were removed.

Sar Kimnat, director of the provincial Public Works and TransportationDepartment, said his officials will meet with villagers today and would assist them in their move starting Wednesday, but that the bridge would still be removed.

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