Koh Pich: Four Months after the Tragedy

Phnom Penh Stampede (Nov 22, 2010)

Image by Ramon Stoppelenburg via Flickr

Today, four months ago, a tragic stampede, the worst ever in our history, had happened on the Pich (Diamond) Bridge connecting the mainland Phnom Penh and a small island called, Koh Pich or Diamond Island. 353 people died and 390 injured, mainly youth. The accident occurred in the last night of the most popular water festivals in the capital, on 22 November 2010. Nobody from the government has been held accountable for that accident. Nobody resigned.

 Since then, time has been quickly passed. On Saturday, 19 March 2011, during the evening of this special day, which the moon might come closest to mother earth, I and my family took the opportunity to drive around and visit Koh Pich again. We wanted to see the full moon and to see if the life and business on Koh Pich’s island return to normalcy. To our full surprise, everything is coming back to normal. Many people were driving around by motorbikes or cars. People were walking, playing and eating around. Shops were full. Meeting halls were occupied by wedding ceremonies and other conventions. Entertainment’s areas were good visited by children, youths and parents etc. We are happy to see this positive trend.

 Yesterday, I got an invitation to join a wedding ceremony of two CEDAC staff on that island, which will be held on 2 April 2011. It means that people are no more afraid to go and celebrate there. The developer company is busy in constructing two more bridges to provide better access to the island.

 When I looked at my last article on Koh Pich written two months ago, I wrote: “After the visit, I am convinced that in a short period of time, people will return to Koh Pich as a destination to relax, have fun, to eat, to entertain, to organize other activities as normal since there is not much open space for Phnom Penher to take breath. Also, we, as human being, tend to get into panic quite quickly when something bad happened to us and tend to rapidly forget it as well”. It took about four months for our people to get rid of the fear feeling and have confidence to come back to Koh Pich and crossed once the “Killing Bridge” again.

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