Road Project Will Displace 38 Families

A plan to widen the access road to Northbridge International School Cambodia would displace 38 families who live at the edge of the road, some for 10 years, and relocate them to a rice field that has no water, sewer, school or market, school and government officials confirmed Mon­day.

The relocation would also force some 60 Cambodian children to withdraw from their studies, their parents said, since the new site is far from the nearest school.

A Northbridge school official said city authorities told the families about the road widening plan more than a month ago.

“It’s municipality property,” said David Eaton, head of North­bridge School. “They have en­croached on the right of way of the highway.”

Eaton said the family’s homes block drainage ditches and create freestanding puddles along and under the road that destroy its surface. “We’ve already resurfaced the road three times, and we can’t do it anymore,” he said.

The families may be moved by the end of this week, said Russei Keo district Governor Touch Sarun. They would be moved sooner but the resettlement area, a rice field, has yet to be harvested, he said.

Eaton said it was his understanding that the government was working on water and sewer facilities for the families, but that he had not seen the area himself.

Eaton said the Northbridge Road was built at the same time as the school, which is in its fifth year. Some families along the road said they have lived there for more than a decade.

Nhen Leakoria, 25, a mother of two, said she would move to the resettlement area if the municipality agreed to pay for dirt to fill in the rice field so that it does not flood in the rainy season.

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