April 27, 2023
PHNOM PENH – Kandal provincial authorities have explained that 40 homes collapsed into the Bassac River on April 24 due to receding water levels.
The 40 houses, owned by 21 families, fell into the river at Prek Koy commune’s Trapaing Chhouk village of Sa’ang district. Fortunately, the collapse happened in the afternoon, and no one was injured.
There have been calls for a more thorough investigation of the cause of the disaster.
Hak Sokmakara, director of the provincial disaster management secretariat, said in a report sent to provincial governor Kong Sophorn that receding waters were to blame.
“The river has receded, and taken a lot of soil with it. This meant there was less earth beneath the houses, and their weight caused a series of landslides,” he said.
According to the report, in addition to the 40 lost houses, a further 28 were severely damaged, with another 10 suffering mild damages.
Sokmakara said the authorities have instructed the victims to move all of their remaining property and building materials to a safe place.
He added that a provincial working group inspected the location and noted that the unstable ground had caused the collapse.
“People can no longer live or do business in this location, as there is a risk of further subsidence,” he concluded.
Provincial deputy governor Nov Peng Chandara said on April 25 that the authorities were assisting the victims to find a secure place to stay.
“The most important thing that we must do is provide them with a safe space,” he said.
He added that discussions would be held with the provincial governor, and solutions will be found.
LICADHO deputy director Am Sam Ath said that it was sad and concerning that people had lost their properties and homes.
“If this had happened at night, it could have caused a serious loss of life,” he added.
He hoped that specialists would determine the cause of the incident and find ways to protect the safety of the public.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn, who is also the Chairman of the government working group for Sa’ang district, visited the affected families on April 25.
According to the Kandal provincial administration, Sokhonn instructed that guards be posted to protect the families’ remaining property.
Sokhonn also requested that the authorities to organise a working group to identify the real cause of the river bank collapse.