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Floating homes told to make way for ferry

Families living in floating houses in Lvea Em district
Families living in floating houses in Lvea Em district, Kandal province yesterday afternoon. Dozens of families have been ordered to move or risk their homes being destroyed. Hong Menea

Floating homes told to make way for ferry

Dozens of families living in floating houses in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district have been ordered to move elsewhere by June 22, or risk their homes being destroyed.

Around 50 families live on the water surrounding Akrie Khsat port, where ferries go back and forth from Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich, or Diamond Island.

But authorities, who yesterday pinned eviction notices onto their homes, say they will no longer tolerate the families living there “illegally”.

If the families do not vacate by June 22, they will be moved by force, according to Lvea Em District Governor Bun Pheng.

“In the case that the residents do not follow the announcement, multiple forces of police and military will be dispatched on June 25, and the authorities will not be responsible for any damage of their property on that day,” he said.

Sok Hour, a 64-year-old resident, said authorities yesterday cited “public order” as a justification for the eviction, and asked the families to move out of the sight of tourists.

“They told us, since Akrie Khsat is in font of Koh Pich city, there are many tourists who cross on this ferry,” he said.

Another resident, 50-year-old Phy Van, said her floating home had been stationed in the area for more than 20 years without any problem. She urged authorities to give residents more time to move.

“If we do not move, they will destroy our homes without being responsible for the damage [but] we need at least three or four months to move to find another place and sell some property inside the house,” she said.

However, Pheng, the district governor, dismissed claims that the families had lived next to the port for decades.

“They have lived in their homes for more than 20 years but far away from here. They have moved nearer and nearer the ferry port by floating.”

Pheng added that the “illegal” residents were polluting the water, creating an eyesore at the popular port.

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