Thursday, April 23, 2009

Evicted to life in limbo


Written by May Titthara
Thursday, 23 April 2009

Thousands of people living in Phnom Penh slums say they will soon be relocated, and many fear their new homes could bring more hardship.

Chun Bunthol, from Phnom Penh's Rik Reay community, stacks car tyres to be burned in protest against the construction of the Bassac Garden City, a residential project that Rik Reay villagers say will force them from their homes. He told the Post that a demonstration planned for Wednesday had been put off because the developers did not come to the work site, "but we have prepared everything. ... If they do something to us, we will protest. We are waiting for them". Rik Reay is one of several Phnom Penh communities facing destruction at the hands of development companies. The posters on the wall read, "The company is causing us great pain" and "If you want the land, you have to buy it. You cannot use a gun"
As I am doing research into local affordable housing issues, I can't help but compare it to the stark contrast of the lack of housing equity in Cambodia. Affordable housing there is made up of some pieces of sheet metal, cardboard, or if you're lucky, some bamboo strips and thatch. There is no equity in housing development in Cambodia.
Country leaders are being driven by the needs/wants/desires/hunger of developers (both national and foreign) who can shell out endless amounts of money without concern for the real needs of the county's citizens.
I guess that is left up to the non-government organizations to deal with. Poor people are not considered good investments, apparently, but the land they live or squat on is worth more than they're being compensated.

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