For generations, the floating wood houseboats of Phnom Penh have been each livelihood and lifestyle for principally ethnic Vietnamese households, residence to fish farming and interconnected by warrens of hand-built bridges interspersed with sunken poles and small boats.
“Our ancestors have always been here,” mentioned Kith Dong, 54, as he and family dismantled his residence, consisting of a timber platform with a sloped tin roof off the shore of Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district.
He mentioned the town order didn’t give his household sufficient time to relocate.
“If they extended by a few more months, we would have time to build a home,” he mentioned.
The Phnom Penh Municipality says the communities quantity to floating slums which might be eyesores and well being hazards, with trash luggage and uncooked sewage floating alongside the houseboats.
Local authorities order villagers to dismantle their floating homes alongside the Tonle Sap river financial institution, close to the village of Prek Pnov in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on June 12.
Si Vutha, head of Prek Pnov district’s land administration workplace, oversaw the dismantling on Friday.
“There are 316 homes that we have to evict today. This really affects the beauty of the city, the environment. You sit on a boat, it smells very bad,” Si Vutha instructed Reuters.
Si Vutha mentioned the evictions are meant to scrub up the capital forward of Phnom Penh’s internet hosting of the 2023 Southeast Asian Games, because the newly constructed stadium is only some kilometers away.
“There are hundreds of viruses here, foreign tourists come and see our country like this?” he mentioned.
But residents say the crackdown got here too quickly and questioned why they wanted to maneuver with the Games nonetheless greater than a yr away.
Si Vutha didn’t specify why the cleanup needed to come now, and Phnom Penh metropolis spokesperson Met Meas Pheakdey couldn’t be reached for remark by Reuters on Saturday.
Dang Van Chou, 57, moved to Cambodia greater than 20 years in the past from neighboring Vietnam.
His household makes a dwelling farming fish in enclosures off their dwelling, however this yr’s fish are too small to promote to boost cash for a transfer, he mentioned.
“I don’t know where to go,” he mentioned. “I don’t have any land.”