Living with the clouds.
The floating villages of Cambodia.

There is a community of fishers in Cambodia who live as they have for generations on the floating village of Chong Kneas on the Tonle Sap Lake in Siem Reap province.

Some live along the lakeshore on small shacks built on stilts.
Some others on moored houseboats, rafts and barges.

They all live with the clouds.

At the ebb and flow of the lake waters, nourished by the monsoon rains and the melting snows of the Himalayas forcing the swollen Mekong River to flow in reverse into the lake which expands to as much as six times it’s dry season size, with silted rich shores and a unique proliferation of species of fishes, frogs and eels.

The village is a poor settlement, without running water or any proper sanitation.
Waste and junks are thrown all around everywhere and into the waters of the lake.

The community of roughly around 5000 include Cambodian, Vietnamese, Muslim and Cham who co-exist peacefully.

Vietnamese who settled there decades ago in the 1970 having fled the Khmer Rouge Regime, fear to be deported, as they have no identification papers.

But now the future looks uncertain for all with new threats on their lives and the ecosystem they are living in.

China is building dams upstream on the Mekong and in the lower basin in the Stung Treng province, threatening the volume of water refluxing into the Tonle Sap during the monsoon season and so it’s size and the fish catch, already in decline due to overfishing practice.

Also the government has recently granted a concession to a Korean contractor to remodel and create the new harbour site of Chong Kneas, and exploit the tourism attached.
Without any participation of the fishers in the process, threatening the community and their way of life.

Some have started to relocate further on the far end last remaining empty piece of land, on each side of the newly wide opened traced dust road auguring the unavoidable change to come.

Tourism is in expansion but fishers got nothing out of it.

For the fishers life goes on.

Tomorrow like everyday they will have to go early morning to throw their nets and hurl out their lines hoping to catch enough to feed their family and be part of the trade as much as they can.
For how long?

They are around 40 floating villages around the Tonle Sap lake with a population of 80 000.
The story is about 4 floating villages Chong Kneas, Kampong Chhnang Kampong Pluck and Kratie focusing of the change of one of them Chong Kneas with the building of the new site.