Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Condolences.

The Brunei Times - Bandar Seri Begawan - His Majesty the Sultan and Yang DiPertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday sent messages of condolences to King Norodom Sihamoni of the Kingdom of Cambodia and Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, following the loss of life caused by the stampede at the recent Water Festival in Cambodia.
In the message to King Sihamoni, His Majesty expressed his great sadness upon learning of the incident. On behalf of the government and the people of Brunei, His Majesty offered heartfelt condolences to King Sihamoni and his people, especially those who had suffered personal loss as a result of the tragic incident.
In a similar message to Prime Minister Hun Sen, His Majesty said he was deeply saddened to learn of the great loss of life caused by the incident. His Majesty, along with the government and people of Brunei also expressed their deepest sympathies to the prime minister and the people of Cambodia.
A news report from the Associated Press yesterday said that a stampede by thousands of festival-goers left at least 378 dead and hundreds injured. The prime minister called it the country's "biggest tragedy" since the murderous 1970s reign of the Khmer Rouge.
The report also said that Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered an investigation into the cause of the stampede, and declared that Thursday would be a national day of mourning, where government ministries were ordered to fly the flag at half-mast.
Hun Sen said that the government would pay the families of each dead victim US$1,250 for funeral expenses and provide US$250 for each injured person.
The report stated that a panic-stricken crowd, celebrating the end of the rainy season on an island in a river tried to flee over a narrow bridge in Phnom Penh late Monday. However, many people were crushed underfoot or fell over its sides into the water as "disoriented victims" struggled to find an escape hatch through the human mass, pushing their way in every direction.
"After the stampede, bodies were stacked upon bodies on the bridge as rescuers swarmed the area."
The report cited a government spokesman, Phay Siphan who said total casualties reached more than 1,000 with 378 people killed and 755 injured. However, the report said the figures were not the final count.
It also mentioned that there were no foreigners among the dead or injured, according to authorities.


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