Cambodia’s elites swallow up Phnom Penh’s lakes, leaving the poor marooned

Lakes in Phnom Penh are fast being filled in and parceled off as prime real estate to wealthy and politically connected individuals. Families who have for generations fished and practiced aquaculture on the lakes and surrounding wetlands face eviction and the loss of livelihoods.

On the edges of Boeung Tamok, Phnom Penh’s largest lake, 25-year-old Kong Khun sheltered from the late June heat in a bamboo hut. Despite clear skies, Khun wasn’t out on the water fishing with his family. There is little point, he said.

An almost endless convoy of trucks carrying sand, rocks and soil paraded around what remains of the lake as part of a land reclamation project that Khun said has decimated the fish population and his income.

“The lakes around this city are almost gone,” Khun said. “This is the last great lake of Phnom Penh, and when it goes, the city will be flooded up to the waist and poor people will have to work in construction or factories, that’s all that’ll be left.”

In full:

Related Stories

Latest News