Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tragedy

I went to bed late this morning as I received a string of sms messages about the tragic scenes that unfolded at the end of the 3-day water festival here in Phnom Penh. And I awoke to see the aftermath scenes on television as a panicked crowd on a bridge leading to Koh Pich Island caused the deaths of more than 340 people and injured another 550. I decided against joining the party revelers for the festival this time around as I've experienced it before and the immense crowds on the streets make it difficult to actually get anywhere. Koh Pich is a recent addition to the places in the city where Cambodians love to go and hang out and free concerts drew massive crowds to the area. It used to be covered with grass and ramshackle dwellings but is now a development of conference and exhibition centres and attracts hordes of locals every weekend. However, access to the reclaimed island is limited and it was on one of the access bridges where the tragedy took place around 10pm last night. It's too early to say what took place with certainty, what caused the tragedy, but it has left so many people in a state of shock today in Phnom Penh.

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9 Comments:

Blogger cat said...

just saw those sad scenes on the french TV morning news...

November 23, 2010 at 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor design of Koh Pich island should be discuss !

Poor rescue team !

None of top boss in the country responsible in this job !

No compensation for victim family !

Nimol

November 23, 2010 at 6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,
what shall I do to read your blogs posted before May 2006? or is this the first of the series? I remember reading earlier ones, from the time you were about to move to Cambodia...
Best Wishes,
Alanis

November 23, 2010 at 10:29 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Hi Alanis,
I did post a few blog postings before I started my main Blog but they've been lost in the mists of time. I moved to live in Cambodia in the middle of 2007.
Would anyone really would want to read ALL of my blog postings - won't that take forever?
Cheers,
Andy

November 24, 2010 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Nimol,
I had to delete a reply from someone who disagreed with your comments, because their language was a little offensive. However they raised some relevant points.
1. A lot of people have said the access to Koh Pich is poor, so many are in agreement.
2. Once the authorities realised the scale of the problem, they jumped into action and did the best they could. It will never please everyone but without their action, many more may've died. Lessons will have been learned I hope about crowd control and crisis/disaster management.
3. All of the political leaders have been involved, from Hun Sen and his broadcasts to those that visited the scene that night. I'm sure much more will come out of the inquiry into the event.
4. All the families of the deceased and injured parties are due to receive compensation from the govt. In addition, there are collections happening right now that will help the families as well.
Andy

November 24, 2010 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

My closest friend was near the bridge at Koh Pich but saw it was so packed full of people that she turned around and went home, only to watch the horror unfold on the television. She was incredibly fortunate. Thank goodness.
However, her cousin wasn't so fortunate. At just sixteen, she was in the city for the festival but she won't be going home again. She was one of the 375 and more that didn't make it off the bridge. So tragic that so many people were lost.
Andy

November 24, 2010 at 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Andy,
I understood people feeling. If we look at outside appearance. We've seen all police, PM or other forces helped the victim...etc We also see phnom penh police chief at tragedy scene. Also our Cambodian prime minister issued condolence statement in early morning.

I looked to the Cambodian TV (Bayon TV, CTN, TVK). I saw PM (police military officer) poured down water to victim. I don't understand why ?
What kind of technique to help people at accident scene like this?
Which school they learnt to help people like that ?

In special tragedy like, it should special commando, helicopter or marine forces come out to help people.

I only PM or police take out dead body to ambulance and send to hospital.

I blamed to police chief or city governor, they should know how many people can walk on the bridge in one time.

You bring million people go to small island, With only two small bridge to exit (Inbound, Outbound).

I heard police chief said "it is tragedy .... " his word is fully of not responsible from his job.

I know Cambodian style is like that. We should join force to discuss in the forum, find out the reason. We can't sit and listen to people like that talk without responsible from their job. What about next time? how many people going to died next year ?

Anyway, I start to see some newspaper, NGO, party...etc showing their feeling similar to me. I am not alone to think like that!

Please Cambodian people come out and talk, show his/her expression!

Thanks Andy again!
Nimol

November 24, 2010 at 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last word, I joined with all Cambodian compatriot: My condolence to all victim family, Please their soul rest in peace !

Nimol

November 24, 2010 at 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,

I'm so glad you are alright. I been meaning to check.

Such a tragedy to have this happen.

Take care,
Kimmie

December 1, 2010 at 7:41 AM  

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