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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid