News / Asia

Cambodian Government Says No Individual Blame Over Bridge Crush

Cambodian police officers stand guard on a bridge where hundreds of people stampeded during a water festival in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 28 Nov 2010
Cambodian police officers stand guard on a bridge where hundreds of people stampeded during a water festival in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 28 Nov 2010
Robert Carmichael

The Cambodian government says no one was to blame for the crush a week ago that killed 351 people and injured nearly 400 more on a bridge at the end of the annual Water Festival.

Cambodian officials Monday said no individual is to blame for the tragedy, and consequently nobody will be punished.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said the bridge crush was an unexpected accident.

"I think that this is the lack of experience. That's why we have this problem," said Khieu Kanharith. "The recommendation of the investigating committee is to improve human resources, which means maybe we'll try to get cooperation from the other countries to train our staff."

Earlier Monday Prime Minister Hun Sen said the fault was a collective one that the government simply did not foresee.

Mr. Hun Sen said each family of those who died would receive $12,000, a large sum in Cambodia where people typically earn less than $100 a month.

Those injured will also receive a cash payout.

Around 2 million people converged on Phnom Penh for the annual Water Festival, a three-day celebration that sees hundreds of teams of boat racers competing in rowing races down the river in the capital.

The bridge crush took place on the final evening.

The government was criticized for failing to provide enough security at the bridge, which links mainland Phnom Penh with the Diamond Island entertainment center.

The company running Diamond Island blamed the government for a lack of security; the government blamed the company.

Khieu Kanharith says video footage showed people ignoring warnings from security personnel not to cross the bridge.

Investigators say as many as 8,000 may have been jammed on the bridge when the stampede began.

People were able to get on the bridge from both ends, but by the time they reached the middle of they were unable to move forward or backward. As more people streamed on, a crush ensued.

The government says most of the dead suffocated or died from internal bleeding in the panic.

Khieu Kanharith brushed aside criticism by the opposition that the committee was composed of ruling party insiders investigating themselves.

"If they want they can set up a committee to join, to make it - but the problem for us is the effectiveness and the quick finding must be the priority, because it is not only this for Phnom Penh, but also for the future in the provinces and everywhere," said Khieu Kanharith.

The bridge crush was Cambodia's worst loss of life in decades, and the government has promised that it will ensure a safer Water Festival next year.

One improvement the committee recommended was building a second pedestrian bridge adjacent to the first, with each one way only.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs