Living on Water
by Steff Gruber at FOTO WIEN 2022
Exhibition from 9 to 27 March 2022
Café Prückel, Stubenring 24, 1010 Vienna
Daily from 8.30 am to 10 pm
Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia is the biggest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. It is one of the world’s richest inland fishing grounds and home to over one million people.
Deeply dependent on the lake, the livelihoods of the ethnically diverse population are under acute threat. Dams, overfishing, illegal logging, the exploitation of all kinds of resources and pollution threaten the stability of Tonle Sap’s socio-ecological system. The economic interests of the government and Chinese investors are the main reasons for this development.
Until just a few years ago, many thousands of people lived on the water in houseboats, which formed floating villages all across the lake. In 2019, Cambodian, Vietnamese and a few Chinese families, who make a living primarily from fishing, were still crowded together on the self-built boats and rafts. Since then, more and more of these desperate people have been forced to return to their home countries.
In early 2022, the last hundred Cambodian families await final eviction from their houseboats, which remain moored on the shore. All of the floating homes have to be evacuated by the end of the year, according to the government, for hygiene reasons. By then at the latest, life on the water in Cambodia will have disappeared altogether.
For more detailed information see the media release. Media release.