Nine families who were evicted in a land dispute with local company Angkor Sugar are facing a serious shortage of food at a temporary relocation site in Samraong city’s Konkriel commune in Oddar Meanchey province, villagers and rights workers said yesterday.
Yeang Thean, 53, a villager living at the site in O’Bat Mon village, said her family was among eight others facing a food shortage.
“There is famine, there is no water supply,” she said of conditions at the relocation site, adding that the area also lacked such basic necessities as a health clinic or school for children.
On Oct 9 inhabitants of O’Bat Mon village saw their houses destroyed by a joint task force of police, military police and regular RCAF troops who were ordered to clear the land to make way for the cane sugar producing company. Provincial authorities said at the time that the homes were merely temporary shelters. Village representatives said that about 214 families had lived on the land since 2003.
Ms Thean said that the authorities had promised evicted families one hectare of land with amenities at a new location in Konkriel commune’s Prasat Lveng village, but several months after their eviction all they have is barren land.
Another villager, who only called herself Channy for fear of retribution by authorities, said that of 20 relocated families only nine remained due to the poor conditions at the new site.
Vath Pavarin, an official at Oddar Meanchey provincial cabinet, said that more than 100 families were originally found to be illegally living on the sugar company’s land. Provincial authorities had drawn up a plan to provide the relocated families with decent amenities at the new site, but now that so few families are left the plan has been shelved.
“Now there are only nine families living in this location so we have decided to cancel this plan,” he said, advising the nine remaining families to go and use the water wells in nearby villages for drinking and cleaning.
Srey Naren, Oddar Meanchey provincial coordinator for the human rights group Adhoc, said he had met with the nine families at their new location and had filed a complaint to the local authorities telling of their condition.
“There is nobody to help them since they were evicted from the land in the dispute with Angkor Sugar Company,” he said.