Koh Pich : One Week After

The government investigation committee, let by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, concluded that “the stampede was triggered when thousands of people packed onto Diamond Bridge began to panic”. It led to 351 deaths. Prime Minister Hun Sen stressed that the incident was “an unpredictable, almost natural disaster“. He claimed that no one will be forced to resign or punished because it was our “joint mistake”. He set out four main points to improve concerning the organization of such large crowd events in the future; including careful and up to the detail planning, deploying sufficient police officers/officials at all important target areas, setting up emergency/medical counters and organizing exit and enter gate-ways and emergency exits.

Cambodians have shown strong moral and solidarity to their fellow citizens by donating lot of money to support those victims. Bayon TV has collected (as of 29.10.10) 2,455,547,700.00 Riel and 1,250,185 USD. Another TV station, CTN collected 678,196.28 USD and 1,297,835,600 Riel or in total as 994,741.57 USD. There were initiatives to collect funding support done by NGOs, charity organizations and individuals to help the victims directly. According to the PM, the family of the victims is entitled to receive funding support of more than 13,000 USD, a very high number ever for victim’s compensation in the history of Cambodia, if at all. To avoid corruption and safety for the receiver government has opened a bank account at a bank and urged the family of the victims to open their account there to make money transfer safe and convenient.

We hope that this incident gave us all important, but very painful lesson so that future stampede or tragic accidents could be possibly avoided. We urge all Cambodians to pay more attention to each other, to respect each other’s rights, to respect the traffic sign and law so that the roads and bridges will be safer for us all. No one will be happy when more than 2,000 people died, thousands injured and about 200 million USD lost last year because of road accidents. Road accidents have become the worst “killing fields” now.

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