Cam­bo­dian govt de­nies sand-dredg­ing caused river­bank col­lapse at tem­ple

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Asean Focus -

THE Min­istry of Mines and En­ergy de­nied on Mon­day that sand dredg­ing caused a river­bank to col­lapse in Phnom Penh’s Ch­bar Am­pov district, which dam­aged sev­eral stu­pas at a tem­ple.

The min­istry’s re­ac­tion on Mon­day came af­ter some res­i­dents in Veal Sbov com­mune pointed to sand dredg­ing as the cause of the col­lapse.

About five stu­pas were dam­aged when the river­bank at Kdey Takoy tem­ple col­lapsed on Satur­day, which prompted fam­i­lies to rush to the tem­ple to re­move their loved one’s ashes for fear that they would fall in the Mekong River.

The min­istry on Mon­day pub­lished a video deny­ing that the river­bank col­lapse was caused by sand dredg­ing along the river.

“Sand dredg­ing is one kilo­me­tre away from the site,” a min­istry of­fi­cial said in the video. “The river­bank col­lapse is due to heavy rains that fell onto new land­fill, mak­ing the land loose and caus­ing the river­bank to col­lapse.”

En­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivist Meng Heng said he be­lieved the river­bank col­lapsed due to sand dredg­ing.

“The river bank col­lapse was not caused by na­ture but by sand dredg­ing,” Heng said.

Yon Sophal, Veal Sbov com­mune chief, said the river­bank has sta­bilised since of­fi­cials came to ex­am­ine it and used sand­bags to pre­vent more ero­sion.

She added, “Be­fore it col­lapsed, it was rain­ing heav­ily, and the land was just filled in a year ago.”

Sophal said that the col­lapsed area along the river was filled in be­cause peo­ple needed to build more stu­pas to hold the ashes of loved ones.

Sour Chon, a mem­ber of the Kdey Takoy pagoda com­mit­tee, said the ashes have all been re­moved from the stu­pas.

“It is very dif­fi­cult to con­tact some fam­i­lies be­cause they live far away, so the pagoda de­cided to re­move all the ashes from the stu­pas,” Chon said. “Some fam­i­lies came to re­move the ashes them­selves. Now there are no ashes left in the stu­pas be­cause we were afraid they would be lost to the river.”

A woman who re­fused to be iden­ti­fied said that res­i­dents be­lieve the river­bank col­lapsed be­cause of sand dredg­ing.

“We saw boats dredg­ing sand in this area. We thought that one day the river­bank will def­i­nitely col­lapse. Now it has,” she said.

An­other vil­lager who was watch­ing the river­bank on Mon­day said of­fi­cials usu­ally deny that sand dredg­ing causes such col­lapses.

“They say it is nat­u­ral ero­sion, but we al­ways see boats dredg­ing sand in this area,” he said. – Kh­mer Times

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.