Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cambodia Stampede: Water Festival Surge Kills Dozens















The death toll from a stampede at a Cambodian festival has risen to 345, the country's official news agency said Tuesday.
In addition to the deaths, another 391 people were injured at the annual Water Festival in the capital city of Phnom Penh on Monday, the AKP news agency said.

In addition to the deaths, another 391 people were injured at the annual Water Festival in the capital city of Phnom Penh on Monday, the AKP news agency said.
Cambodia has declared Thursday a national day of mourning for those who died in the crush, AKP reported. The country has also set up a commission to look into the incident.
On Tuesday, the government said it will help with the transport of the bodies of those who died and pay 5 million riel ($1,230) to the family of each of the deceased.
The three-day festival, which began Saturday, is held each November near the palace to honor a victory by Cambodian naval forces during the 12th-century reign of King Jayvarman VII, according to the country's tourism website.

During the festival, which includes boat races, participants pray for a good rice harvest, enough rain and celebrate the full moon, the site says.
Visalsok Nou, a Cambodian Embassy official in Washington, said more than 4 million people were attending the Water Festival when the stampede occurred.
The municipal police chief said that the stampede, which began around 10 p.m. (10 a.m. ET), likely occurred because a suspension bridge packed with people began to sway, creating panic, said Philip Bader, a news editor with the Phnom Penh Post newspaper.
Steve Finch, a journalist with the newspaper, said police began firing water cannons onto a bridge to an island in the center of a river in an effort to get them to continue moving across the bridge.
"That just caused complete and utter panic," he told CNN in a telephone interview.
He said a number of people lost consciousness and fell into the water,

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