Aug. 16th, 2006
Source: KI media
The following photos speak for themselves.
Recently, the Phnom Penh municipality has decided to sell to the private company 7NG about 4.7 hectares of land in Phnom Penh, in an area know as Dey Kraham (Red Earth), located near the newly built National Assembly buildings. Almost 1,500 families are calling this area their homes. Most of them have been living here for ten years or more. Almost 1,200 houses have already been demolished. The owners of the demolished houses are usually well off and do not even live there, these houses were in fact mainly rented out to poor urban working class of Phnom Penh.
While the homeowners are compensated by the private company which bought the land, the renters are faced with serious hardship. As can be seen in the photos below, these renters who already faced miserable living conditions under the opulence of the “rich” and “super-rich” society of Phnom Penh, saw themselves thrown out, quite literally, on the street following the demolition of the houses they rented a few days earlier. Having nowhere to go, they live on the streets, or any unoccupied spots they can get a hold of. Some more fortunate ones still have a bed made out of scrap wood and some plastic tarps to cover what they call their new homes. Others, less fortunate, are lucky enough to have a scrap of wood to cover the dirt they sleep on. If the living condition was miserable before, their current condition is plainly unhealthy: they are forced to live outdoor under the rain, the wind, and the scorching sun. As can be seen on these photos, several of them are old and sick, a majority of them are women and young children, some of whom are already lacking food.
Unlike the renters of the Sambok Chap area who were offered a small plot of land outside of the city, renters in the Dey Kraham area were simply told by the authority to vacate the area. No alternative options have been offered by the municipality of Phnom Penh to these people thrown out in the street. In the name of development, a large number of poor people are forced to face very serious hardship while the authorities are turning a neglectful blind eye to their misery.