Landgrabbing and forced evictions in Cambodia “Development that impoverishes”?

For some, June 6th 2006 (6-6-6) was believed to announce the apocalypse. And although humanity did not indeed come to an end that morning, the world did collapse for more than a thousand families of the Sambok Chap community, in Phnom Penh. Their houses were destroyed, and the villagers crowded into trucks and relocated to Andung, almost 30 kilometres outsides the capital.

This was the start of the largest displacement of people since the Khmer Rouge, in the north-western end of the city around Boeung Kak lake. Sambok Chap residents previously enjoyed a life in the city, running small businesses and shops close to adequate resources and local markets. Now, more than three years since the eviction, most of them live in deplorable conditions, without access to clean water and sanitation.

Dr. Rapho, formerly a medical officer in refugee camps following the Khmer Rouge period, is part of a medical team of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) that visits Andung twice a week. Asked if Andung could be compared to a refugee camp, he said that, lacking UN and other international support, it was worse. “There is no water, no rice, no medical support, no school, nothing. Conditions are impossible for human life.”
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