Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monks bless dead after horror [-Koh Pich bridge: the "gate to hell"]

Nov 24, 2010

Scores of people leapt to their deaths from the pedestrian bridge, unable to swim and dragged under water amid frantic splashing as desperate and panicked people plunged down from above.

While many victims drowned, most perished while trapped under the weight of hundreds of fleeing revellers.

Hours after the tragedy, the scene was untouched. Shoes, flip-flops and ripped clothing piled up a foot high across some parts of the 80m bridge linking Phnom Penh to a gawdy man-made entertainment island packed with restaurants, fairground rides and exhibition centres.

Hundreds of onlookers endured the stench of rotting garbage and tip-toed across the trampled grass to get a glimpse at the place where so many died.

Many people sat in silence on the steep banks of the Tonle Sap, a tributary of the Mekong River, listening to the chanting of hundreds of Buddhist monks who laid flowers and lit incense to bless the dead.

Flags were flown at half mast across the city of about 2 million people, which swelled during the festival as hundreds of thousands flocked in from surrounding provinces for the festival marking the end of the rainy season.

Television repeatedly showed footage of shirtless, shoeless bodies laid out on the ground and on hospital floors, many open-eyed and covered in bruises.

Relatives of the dead wept at the Khmer-Soviet hospital, where more than 100 unclaimed and unidentified bodies, most of them teenagers, lay side-by-side, covered in white sheets.

'I didn't feel safe on the bridge, there were just too many people, so I crossed just in time,' said Bothra Cheahcha, whose friends were among the dead.

'It's tragic and I was so lucky,' he said. 'I feel like I'm reborn, like I have been given a second chance at life.' -- REUTERS
PHNOM PENH - SAFFRON-ROBED Buddhist monks chanted as onlookers gazed silently across a bridge piled with the shoes and torn clothing left behind by victims of a stampede in Cambodia's capital.

The body count stood at 375 by sunset on Tuesday and was expected to rise. Many people were missing and Cambodians had many questions about one of the darkest days of their country's recent and troubled history.

The cause of the stampede on the Diamond Gate bridge late on Monday, the last day of an annual three-day Water Festival, remained a mystery.

'Everyone is shocked that this can happen to us,' said Chhun Sreypong, 45, clutching her one-year-old baby and looking out across Phnom Penh's Tonle Sap river, from where scores of limp bodies were dragged.

'Those who died were mostly youngsters. Many mothers have lost their children. No one knows why this happened.' Survivors gave chilling accounts of being buried under piles of bodies, alive and dead, for as long as three hours, crying for help and clambering for air, open-mouthed as police doused the trapped crowd with water cannons.

'People were shouting for help and began to push,' said Touch Theara, 38, who was among the thousands who flocked to Diamond Island to eat in restaurants, listen to live music and buy cheap clothes. Her sister and her friend died on the bridge, which some described as a 'gate to hell'. About 755 people were injured.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

you all useless khmer should all be dead... you wishes you all should never born... LONG LIVE VIET NAM ..

Good work HUN SEN and CPP...KING Sihamoni our dream will come true soon with your good work.. you will be always the PM then the governor of CAMBODIA once we reunite CAMBODIA into Viet Nam province.. you all dies u all useless .

Kulen Monorom said...

Your Majesty Samdech Ta former King Norodom Sihanouk,

Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen,

Thank you for your both kindness and understanding.
What we need is prevention methods, not to let this type of accident happen again in the future.

It also makes me very worried to see so much alcohol allowed to enter or be produced in our beloved Kingdom of Cambodia? What about “ YA BA “ and other types of DRUGS from Thailand and Vietnam?

Can His Majesty Samdech Ta and Samdech Hun Sen stop all sorts of drugs coming to Cambodia? The accident may not be related to drugs and alcohol but just some thing that I could not sleep peacefully from now on to the future, in the names sake of true Khmer citizen.

Can Samdech Hun Sen kindly ask all 5 million Vietnamese illegal immigrants to peacefully return to Vietnam, so Koh Pich will not be too crowded more and more every day, every month and every year to come.
All Vietnamese illegal immigrants can easily come in and settle inside Cambodia even though they already have their own country Vietnam.

When Cambodia is too crowded, definitely we Khmer people can not go to settle inside Vietnam, can we?
Please Vietnamese, you said you came to rescue us from Pol Pot, and you don’t want to return home, it is not right according to 23rd October 1991 Paris Peace Agreement, can all of you go back to your country now.

Vietnamese illegal immigrants, you see because 5 million of you are inside Cambodia, it makes us too crowded and we wasted our lives at Koh Pich without good reasons.

Your Vietnamese Communism expansionist mind in Cambodia, is to give an excuse to China mainland to occupy your Spratly Islands, Parcel Islands, the whole of your Eastern sea border and perhaps the Northern border sooner or later.

5 million Vietnamese illegal immigrants in Cambodia, please go back home to defend your country from Chinese mighty economic invasion.

May I pray to God and the Lord Jesus Christ that those who have lost loved one will be comforted.

My condolences to all the victim's family.


Kulen Monorom
(The rice farmer's son)