Residents of Boeng Kak II Commune Still Homeless After Fire

Almost three months after a fire in Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak II commune left 257 families homeless, displaced residents have still not reached a resettlement solution with the district government, officials said yesterday.

District Governor Seng Ratanak blamed the delay on some residents` refusal to adopt a proposal that would allow them to rebuild on the same site, albeit on smaller plots of land, or to relocate. “Things go slowly because villagers don’t accept the arrangement by the government,” he said.

After the March 8 blaze, re­sidents were offered a choice be­tween rebuilding or moving to 5-by-12 meter plots in Dangkao district’s Choam Chao commune, Deputy District Governor Thim Sam An said. Those choosing to remain would not be granted land titles, however, and would have to accept 3.92-by-5.30 meter plots to allow local road expansion, he added.

Mr Sam An said around 170 families agreed to move, while 67 families wish to rebuild, but have not yet accepted their reduced plots.

Some residents who plan to re­main, including 48-year-old Heng Pov, complain they will lose a lot of land to the road expansion.

“My land is very big now, and if they expand [the road]…it will be very small,” Ms Pov said soon after authorities announced the plan.

Mr Sam An said he had invited the families who wished to stay to a meeting yesterday. However, some attendees said they were disappointed by the lack of progress.

Mr Sam An said the relocation would be done before any de­cision is made regarding those who wish to remain. “I will solve the problem of the 67 families…after I take [the other] families to the new site,” he said. The relocation will take place as soon as the new site is ready, he added, though he was unable to say when this would be.


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