Mekong Dredging Blamed for Riverbank Collapse, Lost Land

Dredging in the Mekong river in Kompong Cham province’s Tbong Khmum district is being blamed for the collapse of a riverbank that forced more than a dozen families from their homes.

A chunk of riverbank, measuring some 200 meters by 20 meters, began collapsing into the river on Friday, giving 15 affected families time to dismantle their homes and move further inland before the en­tire section gave way, said Heng Soklay, chief of Chirou I commune’s Roka Thom village.

Three additional families also plan to begin moving their homes soon, Mr Soklay said, noting that in the past, villagers had moved five times due to normal, annual erosion.

Mr Soklay said the bank collapsed every year, but this time the large collapse coincided with a company beginning to dredge sand nearby. “We request the Wa­ter Re­sources and Meteorolo­gy Min­istry to come and find out what the problem is,” he said.

Soy Phat, 38, a father of 12, said the bank had collapsed severely after seven to eight dredging vessels began operating in the area.

“Most of my land has collapsed into the river,” Mr Phat said, noting that about 30 meters of his land, previously used to grow crops, had disappeared. “I don’t have any more land to rebuild my house on.”

 

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