Phnom Penh officials announced on Monday that the city had finalized its offer of compensation to 154 families who have spent years protesting their eviction from the Borei Keila neighborhood.
The families are part of a larger group of people who were evicted by the powerful Phanimex company starting in 2003 and promised compensatory housing in 10 apartment blocks. However, in the end Phanimex built only eight blocks, leaving hundreds of families to squat in squalid conditions on the site of their former homes.
Long Dimanche, the spokesman for the municipality, said the city’s working group on the Borei Keila dispute had determined that 154 out of the 183 families still living on the site were eligible for compensation.
Thirty-five of those will receive housing in one of the apartment blocks on-site, while 85 will be rehoused in Andong village, a relocation site for evictees on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. The remaining 34 families who do not have sufficient documentation to prove their tenancy will be given $3,000 each.
“This is the final [offer] and there is no ability to provide more,” Mr. Dimanche said. “Whether they agree or not, we can’t do much more, so they should take it.”
Chhay Kimhorn, a representative for 76 of the families, said that as of Tuesday afternoon they had not been notified of the offer.
However, she said those who were granted on-site apartments would only accept the offer if the new housing was on a lower floor of the six-story apartments.
Those set to move to Andong village would not agree to go unless the government improved conditions in the slum-like area, Ms. Kimhorn added.
“If our residents go to Andong village, we worry where the water, electricity, roads and drainage will be, so it is hard to agree,” she said.
Sia Phearum, a housing rights activist and a member of the Borei Keila working group, also said the offer was not ideal, particularly for families granted housing in Andong, a community of impoverished evictees far from the city center.
“The new village will be hard for them because everything will not be the same as they had before,” he said. “They are worried about the new location.”
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