People live in fear as Mekong riverbanks collapse

One recent mid-morning, Lev Pheng Ang, a 52-year-old mother who runs a grocery store on the bank of the Mekong River in Rakar Korng Muoy commune, Kandal province’s Muk Kampoul district, was running her business as usual when she heard a loud splash in the river next to her store.

She thought someone might have driven his or her car into the river. So, she rushed to the scene to see and found that something else had happened.

“A large chunk of the riverbank had just collapsed into the river together with a few trees without any notice,” she recalls.

Getting into a panic, Ang says she hurriedly moved her groceries and other belongings to a safe place for fear that the section of the riverbank where her store is located would also collapse.

“I was so terrified that I didn’t realise I had not eaten any meal the whole day,” she says, adding that she later moved her things back after seeing that everything had returned to normal.

Ang says she has no idea what caused the riverbank to collapse, although some local people suspect that sand mining which has been active in the area for many years was to blame.

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Moeun Chhean Nariddh