Second road to flooded dam commune blocked

Source: Khmer Times

A road leading to Sre Kor commune was blocked last week, and now a second one has been cut off. Supplied

A second road leading to the embattled communities of Sre Kor commune, where defiant villagers continue to live through floods caused by dam construction, has been blocked by Stung Treng provincial authorities.

Sre Kor commune chief Seak Mekong said a road leading to the commune was blocked last week with rebar and now a second road is also being run as a checkpoint into the communities, at Sre Ker Thmey village.

Mr Mekong said the authorities are blocking the roads to prevent NGO workers and media from documenting the plight of villagers, who are experiencing floods as the Lower Sesan Dam II continues operational tests this month.

“The people who want to go to Sre Ker Thmey village must now get permission from authorities because the authorities are afraid of any newcomers or media going into the village to do any reporting,” he said yesterday. “And, now the villagers must present their ID cards to get back into their village.”

Mr Mekong added that the road is a public passageway.

“This is wrong,” he said. “It is a public road. All passengers have the right to cross it.”

A security guard manning the newly blocked road, who declined to provide his name, said he is maintaining “public order” and must ask all passengers about their “intentions”.

“I got ordered by my boss to not allow people to get inside,” he said. “You have to ask permission from the provincial governor, if you get a permission letter, I can let you through.”

The dam’s door closed on July 15 for technical tests and will not reopen until August 15, leaving more than one hundred villagers in Sre Ker and Kbal Romeas communes under siege from floods.

Meng Kong, a spokesman for Stung Treng provincial hall, said that authorities are blocking the roads and asking visitors of their intentions because the governor does not want confusion to be spread by false reporting.

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