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Run Ta Ek villagers set up homes, resume life

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New residents of the Run Ta Ek eco-village take shipments of zinc to use for roofing in Siem Reap province’s Banteay Srei district. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Run Ta Ek villagers set up homes, resume life

The families who relocated from the Angkor Archaeological Park to the Run Ta Ek development area in Siem Reap province’s Banteay Srei district have received sheet metal to build their homes and are beginning to organise the soon-to-be “eco-village”.

According to Run Ta Ek commune chief Chhuon Im, from November 1 to December 19, a total of 577 households had moved in, with some of them having already established themselves and are living “peacefully”.

“Those who accepted the relocation are eligible to receive building materials, while holdouts do not have the paperwork required.

“The first stage was bloc ‘K’. A total of 255 households had been given plots of land in the area and have settled there. Other blocs are now being developed,” she added.

Srey Reaksa, a 32-year-old who moved to K bloc, said the people in his neighbourhood of Run Ta Ek had already built comfortable homes and were “happy”. He did say that he had a much longer commute to his workplace, however.

“We now have electricity and I believe the water supply will soon be connected. We have planted fruit trees, but they are still small. Hopefully when they grow we will be able to harvest and sell them. Perhaps I will be able to find work closer to my new village,” he added.

He said that despite the challenges, he was happy in his new home and glad that he could develop or decorate it in any style he chose, something that was not possible in the Angkor Park.

Pri Chenda, also a recent arrival to Run Ta Ek, said the move was not difficult and the new village seemed well organised, noting that he had been able to borrow money to build his new home.

He added that some of the fruit trees were not growing well, as the soil had not been totally levelled.

San Thearin said his move to Run Ta Ek had been very easy, as soldiers helped him to transport the materials he had salvaged from his old home. The main difficulty he had encountered was a lack of water, but now wells had been dug.

He said local authorities had worked quickly to connect the village to the electrical supply, adding that most of the families had built solid houses while some were still living in makeshift homes.

“Some of us have built makeshift shelters as we have no money. Generally, when we dismantled our old houses, we were able to salvage 50 per cent of the materials. Those of us who can afford it have bought strong timber and built some really fine homes,” he concluded.


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