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Villagers blame sand dredging for flooding

A student in Tonle Bit village points to pooled water under a school building
A student in Tonle Bit village points to pooled water under a school building in Kampong Cham province. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Villagers blame sand dredging for flooding

A group of 40 villagers in Kampong Cham’s Tbong Khmom district filed a complaint with commune authorities on Sunday against a local firm which they claim has caused flooding in their village by dredging sand from a nearby river, causing the riverbank to collapse.

Kim Chun, the Tonle Bit commune chief, told the Post that villagers had asked commune officials to temporarily stop the Thary Commerce Company from dredging the river – situated a mere three metres from their homes – until the company drains water from their village and pays for damage to a school wall.

“The company negotiated [yesterday] with the villagers by promising to drain the water out of the village, which they have begun doing already,” Chun said, adding that the school wall would be fixed once the waters receded.

Village representative Pho Sophal, 48, said floodwaters had receded a few days ago but then inundated the village again after the company resumed dredging operations.

“We protest against this company so that they will temporarily stop pumping the sand in order to avoid long-term flooding, which affects the safety, living and work [of villagers],” he said.

“We will stay quiet after the company drains the water and fixes the school’s walls,” Sophal said.

Chhoun Thary, the owner of Thary Commerce Company, rejected the villagers’ complaints – claiming the school wall had been damaged by regular yearly flooding – not company operations.

“The villagers are all exaggerating. However, I already solved the problem with [officials] by agreeing to drain the water from the village,” Thary said yesterday.

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