RUFA Director To Ask Premier For Help With Flooded School

Flooding at the Royal Uni­versity of Fine Arts campus continues to prevent students from attending class, officials said Monday.

Po Teang, director of RUFA, said that water was still knee-high around the school. He said he didn’t know when classes would resume but said it would probably not be until late in the year. “If there is one more heavy rain, I don’t know what will happen to my office,” he said.

He added that he will present a letter today to the Ministry of Culture appealing for help from Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Classes have been canceled since Oct 9 at RUFA, which is located on a low-lying plot of land in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district that used to be a lake. The school was moved from central Phnom Penh to the filled-in lake in 2005 following a controversial land swap deal with the Mong Reththy Group.

According to district Governor Klaing Huot, floodwaters have subsided by only 10 cm from their highest level, despite the opening of a drainage water gate last week.

The flooding has also badly damaged the 1 km road leading to the near­by municipal traffic police headquarters and municipal public works and transport department of­fices, local residents and officials said.

Minister of Culture Him Chhem, whose ministry is responsible for the flooded art school, said Mon­day that nothing could be done but wait for the waters to subside. He added that the Developing Culture Theater, near the new National As­sembly building, and the Circus Theater, off Monivong Boulevard, would be used to temporarily ac­commodate some RUFA classes.

“I’m missing a lot of class,” said Chhoeurn Petoul, a 16-year-old modern music student.

“I feel I’ve forgotten the lessons, and I miss the teacher,” he said.

Russei Keo resident Ouk Sarady condemned the lack of action.

“Authorities have to be responsible on time,” he said. “RUFA is the state’s property. If they wait until floodwater subsides, it is not a solution,” he added.

Another resident, Horn Kim Heang, 25, said that since the flooding began she has had to pay $10 a month for parking far from the flooded area, and has needed medicine for itchy skin brought on by the polluted floodwater.

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