Mekong riverbanks to be restored

Source: Khmer Times

Villagers check the images handed out by Mr. Tina . KT/Ros Chanveasna

Mines Ministry officials yesterday announced a project to shore up sections of the Mekong river affected by erosion that threatens families in Kandal province’s Mok Kampol district.
Fifty-nine families living along the river say they have been affected by riverbank collapses.
Speaking to about 100 people yesterday during a public forum on restoring the riverbank, ministry Secretary of State Dith Tina said the ministry will reinforce or restore sections of the riverbank.
“We will use bags, known as geotech bags, filled with sand and piled up on top of each other along the riverbank and then we will pump sand into the space to shore up the riverbank to stop more and more collapses of villages into the water,” Mr. Tina said.
“In the first year, about $120,000 will be spent to restore the riverbank and we will do it step by step until we finish the project.”
The restored section of riverbank would extend about 15 meters from the eroded riverbank.
He said the waterway changed when mud and sand built up year-by-year to create a big sand island.
“Due to this problem, the waterway has changed its direction and hit the villages at the western part of the river, causing collapses of the riverbank into the water.”
He said that previously, the ministry had granted licenses to companies with sand dredging operations to remove the mud build-up in the eastern part of the river.
The riverbank on the western side would continue to collapse unless the sand island was removed, he said.
He said the effect on the riverbank was not caused by sand dredging.
“The cause is related to natural erosion and changing of the waterway,” he said.
Meeting participant Touch Sokheng said she was happy at the ministry’s efforts to restore the riverbank to avoid more land collapsing into the water.
“I have been living in fear of landslides,” she said. “I also had a piece of land which collapsed into the water. If the ministry restores the riverbank, I will feel more comfortable,” Ms. Sokheng said.

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