Villagers end bridge protests

Source: Khmer Times

Sre Pok bridge has been partly dismantled amid flooding fears. KT/Mai Vireak

Villagers in Stung Treng’s Sesan district have ended their protest at Sre Pok bridge and will let authorities dismantle the structure to prevent its damage by floods.

Dam Samnage, a representative of Sre Kor commune, said part of the bridge was taken down but part had been retained for pedestrians because there was no flooding yet.

Last month, nearly 200 villagers from three communes said they needed the bridge and demanded that authorities stop dismantling it in preparation for the closing of the Sesan dam sluice gate.

Stung Treng provincial authorities said the Lower Sesan II Hydropower company had started closing the dam gate on Saturday and would continue testing until August 15, to examine its technical operation.

They warned that some villages would be flooded, but so far water levels have remained under control, while nearly 200 families who received no compensation from the company have still not moved away.

The bridge was built in 1979 and is 600 metres long by five metres wide.

Mr Samange said villagers were ready to move to safety in case the floods came and some were making bamboo rafts.

Provincial spokesman Men Kong said authorities were preparing a safe place for villagers in case of flooding.

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