Cambodia – Villagers express their dissatisfaction over the government’s decision to forcibly evict river houses dwellers

The Cambodian government has recently issued eviction notices for families living in boat houses along the Mekong River in several riverside fishing communities in Phnom Penh, the majority of these people are of Vietnamese or Viet/Khmer descent, have lived there for years; Meanwhile, several fishermen threatened with expulsion from their homes on the banks of the river expressed their dissatisfaction with the government’s decision, adding that 
they did not have the money to build new homes and move to other areas.

one villager said (Phuong):
“I’m not sure where I’m going yet because when I move ashore, I’ll need to find a place to stay. After all, they evicted me from the water and I haven’t found a place to live within a week. I was drained. If we do not remove it, they will do so for us, and if they transport and damage our belongings, they will not attempt to compensate us. I’m fine with moving ashore, but my parents have been here for a long period. When they come ashore, it will be difficult for them; we will be completely exhausted from the effort of building a new house. Where am I going to get the money to build a house when I don’t have enough money to cover my daily expenses and earn enough money to cover one day’s expenses? Where am I going to get the money to purchase the wood and other materials necessary to build a house?”

-Polla – Villagerwife of Chhin Vothy said:
“I’ve lived here since I’ve been without a home; when I lived ashore, I used white plastic for roofing, and I’ve been here for thirty-one years. They’ve now asked me to leave. They will cut the string and let my fish cages float away if I do not leave. They prohibit people from residing on the riverbank, because the first is environmental pollution, and the second is that it is state property, even though we have lived here for a longer time still it is not our belonging. That is all they have said. They repeatedly stated that they require clean water and sanitation along the riverbank so that when tourists visit, they can see that everything is in order.”
-Chhin Vothy Villager, (husband of Polla) said
“When they asked me to leave, I felt stressed because the state evicted me in this manner because I’ve been a resident of this area for more than thirty years. When they evicted me, I was unable to pay for my removal. The difficulty is excessive. A budget is required to construct a new house ashore. How will we survive if we do not build? It is, in my opinion, stressful. My occupation or business is construction; my wife sells vegetables and occasionally earns money; sometimes she does not, and we are evicted by the state. In my mind, this is stressful. It is too difficult, we are too suffering but we do not know what to do, we are just suffering.”
Source -A24 News

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