Drains, Soil Ravage Ruins, Asserts Report

The haphazard draining system at one of Angkor’s temples was the result of several attempts centuries ago to enlarge and remodel the structure, according to this year’s annual report by the Japanese Government Team for Safeguarding Angkor.

Each time the Bayon temple, at the center of Angkor Thom, was changed, new drains were built even if they over­lapped old ones, according to the report, re­leased this week. Some may also have been added when the temple was reconsecrated, from Ma­ha­yanist Bud­dhism to Hinduism.

The report also stressed that the entire monument is still in danger. Several buildings such as the main sanctuary and some libraries are in critical condition.

The towers at Prasat Suor Prat, in the center of Angkor parallel to the royal palace, are at risk from shifting soil, which causes them to lean. That, in turn, causes their walls to disjoin and crack.

The towers and the Bayon temple face extra risk from the corrosive nature of bat feces and last year’s high rainfall.

Political instability has also slowed the restoration process. The JSA intended to complete the restoration of the Northern Library at the Bayon temple this month but had to postpone its plans until April 1999 because of the armed conflict in July 1997.


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