Living with the dead: Urban poor take over Cambodian cemetery

In a battered cemetery in Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, the living outnumbers the dead. They have constructed makeshift houses on top of tombs and coffins, or inhabited vacant burial chambers, and it is here they eat dinner, watch TV, hang clothes to dry, care for their kids, and sleep – just inches away from the dead.

Like the other 500 or so residents that live amongst the graves, sand dredging led to the collapse of their riverbank houses, forcing many to move to this ghostly new home.

“I moved here because my house collapsed into the river,” says Samnang, “I don’t have anywhere else to live so that is why I live here.”

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