Boeng Kak Residents Renew Blame for Flooding on Lake Project

With the arrival of this year’s rainy season, families in Daun Penh district’s Village 3 are once again blaming the dredging of Boeng Kak lake for the latest flooding of their homes.

Residents said yesterday that the village was still inundated from a downpour on Friday, which flooded several houses and has forced them to wade through the knee-deep water in several of the neighborhood’s alleyways, causing some residents to develop skin irritations.

Wastewater has repeatedly pooled in the village since late last year, after the private construction firm Shukaku blocked off the local sewage system while filling in the nearby lake with sand. Residents have made frequent requests for a new sewage system, but they say the pumps local authorities have installed are too narrow to do the job.

Village representative Taing Phuong said yesterday that her repeated requests to the commune for relief had yet to be met.

“We have been waiting so long for a solution but we don’t know when we will have it,” she said.

“This is the worst flooding we have seen here in 20 years,” said resident Biv Thoeurng.

Though Mr Thoeurng used three truckloads of dirt and rubble to raise the floor of his home out of the most recent floodwaters, he was not sure how long his solution would last.

“If there is another rain, we will have no place to sleep,” he said. “We might move and camp out [along] Russian Boulevard.”

Srah Chak commune chief Chhay Thirith insisted government authorities were taking the residents’ plight seriously, and had sent Shukaku a letter asking for more pumps.

“The authorities are paying much attention to the issue, and please don’t worry too much,” he said.

Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuktema declined to comment on the issue yesterday. Daun Penh district deputy governor Sok Penhvuth said he was unaware of the flooding.

In a move housing rights groups have labeled illegal, the government granted Shukaku a 99-year lease to the 129-hectare site in 2007. The firm has since filled in about half the lake.

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