Koh Pich – The Aftermath
On 25 November, 2010, the declared National Day of Mourning; Prime Minister, government’s dignitaries, MPs, Senators, and thousands of ordinary people were mourning for the victims of the tragedy of 22.11.10. The official data released by the government is 347 deaths (126 males and 221 females) and 394 injured. It is obvious, the female visitors lost more life in comparison to their male counterpart, due to their physical weaknesses in nature. In some families, 2-3 people were died at the scene. This was horrible event for the parents or siblings who lost their beloved ones. Sad, sad, sad!!!
I was one among the thousands who went to mourn directly at the bridge, today. The official ceremonies started already since the very early morning; led by the PM and his wife. Till late night, there were still people going in and out to pay respect to their fellow compatriots. Standing in front of the bridge, which looks nice with light decoration, could not understand why this nice object could be a symbol of horrible scene just a few days ago which led to suffering of so many people at one time.
In the western countries or other civilized nations, may be some responsible persons were removed from their office or they must step down by themselves. It is still hardly the case in this country. For example, there was recently an attack by North-Korean soldiers which caused deaths to some South-Korean soldiers at the border. There was some criticism on how the Ministry of Defense was reacting to the incident. As consequences, the Minister of Defense just steps down to take full responsibility.
All people have common opinions now: If there would be more effective safety arrangements, more police deployed, higher moral among the festival visitors (especially among some youths), more respect to the traffic sign in front of the bridge, effective emergency treatments, more basic treatment skill among helpers; these innocent people might not have been died or injured at all. But, all of us seem to agree that this very tragic incident was unprecedented, including me. No One had ever thought of it, really NO ONE! People come to the very popular water festival with only one great wish: Enjoy the Fest. Organizers, Police and authorities were concentrating on minor crimes and hygiene measures which they have done it quite well, in the last several years.