Families forced to leave the Phnom Penh neighborhood of Borei Keila say they are now facing a second threat as more and more people move into their Kandal province relocation site.
The site, at Phnom Bath mountain, is 50 kilometers outside the capital and lacks clean water, electricity, health care facilities and school. Residents at the site now say it is becoming overcrowded.
Nearly 200 families were moved here from the city, following a forced eviction at Borei Keila, a Phnom Penh neighborhood slated for development by the company Phan Imex.
Suy Siphan, director of the company, told reporters at Phnom Bath on Monday that her company would provide 20,000 riel, or about $5, each to 78 families at the site to help them move again.
Rights groups say that Phan Imex failed to provide housing for the people of Borei Keila who would be displaced by a development project in the neighborhood, leading to violent opposition from residents last week as security forces moved in to dismantle their homes.
Phan Imex had promised at least some villagers around $100 each and plots of land at Phnom Bath, but people here said at least some of that land size is smaller than promised.
“The company told me to move away from Borei Keila and wait for a solution from them after the forced eviction, but I have nothing so far,” said Puth Sinath, 47, as he cleaned a teapot near his tarpaulin dwelling. “Some people brought nothing along.”
People here sleep on the ground under tarps, wood or plastic. More than 100 families share just two wells dug by the development company. The evictees say their children have fallen ill due to the wind and cold that pervade the site.
“It is difficult for me because I have a small child,” said Din Sodeth, 25, sitting next to her makeshift house. “Now you can see all the dust around here. We’re living without a toilet, lacking water, and we use a well far from here. My daughter has had an eye infection since we moved here.”
Ngep Chan, chief of Phar Dek commune, Ponhea Leu district, where the Phnom Bath site is located, said Phan Imex had only purchased the land in December and had not had time to prepare it for the number of people moving in.
A health center nearby if residents need it, he said.
However, Am Sam Ath, chief investigator for the rights group Licadho, said the facilities at the site are inadequate. Moving people to this site was “dangerous,” he said.