Downpour Sees Homes Flooded At Boeng Kak Lake Yet Again

Massive rains Saturday night led to flooding in homes of four Boeng Kak lake villages, now a commonplace rainy season occurrence that many tie to the filling-in of a lake that once served as a natural drainage system.

Yesterday, residents in Daun Penh district’s villages 1, 6, 22, and 24 waded through ankle-deep water as they pointed to damage to their homes. Many said they feared electrocution and illness.

“My house has half a meter of water,” said Village 24 representative, Ly Mom. “Before the sand-pum­ping, my house never flooded. Now we’re concerned about it affecting our children’s health,” she said.

Kim Vannak, a Village 22 resident, said she believed the flooding, a recurring problem since late 2009, would simply grow worse as Shu­kaku Erdos Hongjun Property Development continued pumping sand into the now roughly three-quarters filled lake.

“City Hall and district authorities are ignoring us,” she added.

“It’s a serious situation, and the government has made no action or any response to what is happening,” said Chan Punthisak, a Village 1 representative.

Public works officials said yesterday that the flooding was due merely to garbage-clogged drains.

“The water yesterday was blocked because there was a lot of rain and a lot of rubbish that blocked the drainage system,” said Nouv Saroeun, director of the drainage and sewage unit at the municipal public works department. “Our drainage is now running normally.”

Ien Narin, Phnom Penh’s acting director of public works, said other streets in Daun Penh, Tuol Kok and Chamkar Mon districts saw flooding too.

“It’s not the problem of our drainage system. I ask people to please keep their rubbish in order.”

Nevertheless, Boeng Kak residents said they would be lodging a complaint asking the city to hold Shukaku accountable. Following last week’s violent police response to a protest in which several demonstrators were injured, “villagers are concerned about protesting,” said Sia Phearum, secretary-general of the Housing Rights Task Force.

(Additional reporting by Abby Seiff)

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