In Vietnamese floating villages, a precarious life

The Cambodia Daily
12 October 2015

They live in floating houses along the river here because they have no legal right to own land. Some say their immigrant families have been here for generations, but they are all treated like outsiders.

For the thousand or so ethnic Vietnamese families who have lived and fished for years in the floating villages along this stretch of the Tonle Sap river in Kompong Chhnang, the insecurity of their lives here was made clear last week.

Evicted from moorings in the center of the provincial capital as part of a project to beautify the riverfront before the city hosts the River Festival in 2017, the villagers were told to float around the riverbend and out of sight.

Having lived mostly unmolested by authorities since they started settling here again after the Khmer Rouge’s fall in January 1979, the Vietnamese, who survive by breeding fish in cages under their homes, had no choice but to comply.

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