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Residents of Village Three in Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak lake area said yesterday that local authorities were not doing enough to pump out sewage water from underneath their houses. The wastewater had gathered in the area in recent months after developer Shukaku blocked off the local sewage system while filling the lake.

Biv Thoeurng, a 62-year-old villager, said in recent days authorities had removed a pump that had been installed in early January to remove the sewage, and the wastewater had quickly risen again under the villagers’ houses in Srah Chak commune, adding this situation had continued until yesterday when a new, smaller pump was reinstalled by officials.

“When they stopped pumping, the sewage water rose up to the same level as last month,” he said, adding the 28 families in Village Three again found themselves living right above the rancid water which flooded alleys and the space under their wooden stilt houses.

“We have the same problem like last month and the children have a difficult time avoiding contact with the water,” he said.

“We will wait to see a few days, if it doesn’t empty out we will protest in front of City Hall to demand a new drainage system,” Mr Thoeurng said.

Neup Ly, a community empowerment officer at the NGO Housing Rights Task Force, said the pump is not up to the task of removing the waste water.

“They should make a new sewage system to drain the area,” he said, adding the effluent was wastewater from surrounding areas that was flowing into the low-lying neighborhood.

Daun Penh district Deputy Governor Sok Penvuth said authorities had halted draining of the village because of technical problems with the pump.

“[Yesterday] we installed a new pump, it’s bigger than the old one,” Mr Penvuth said, adding, “It will empty the village.”


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