On Monday 22nd November, here in Phnom Penh (Cambodia), a human tragedy occurred. At the end of Water Festival (a very popular national festival here), with Cambodians visiting the capital from all over the country, many were present on Koh Pich (Diamond Island, a very recently built resort). All were celebrating the Festival with their families and friends.
At 11pm, on one of the bridges leading to the island, where up to 1000 people were standing, a stampede occurred. The reasons are still unknown: some speak of a fear of the bridging collapsing, and others of electric shock. In any case, this is a tragedy: 375 people died (and maybe more). The government has offered financial support as well as bringing back the corpses to the homelands, the King has also offered financial help, and NGOs and embassies across the city are offering further financial and medical aid.
Our organization, Strey Khmer, as been part of this humanitarian effort. We have been seeking to bring support to the victims, collaborating with other organizations in this process. The Khmer Women Movement for Social Justice (KWMSJ), of which we are part of, gathered this morning, Thursday 26th November, at Wat Lanka (the city’s main pagoda) to pray for the victims and their loved ones. The monks chanted so that the people and our ancestors who have passed away will live in peace for the next world. The monk then tied the red thread to all of us, wishing us good fortune. This is a symbol to bring us prosperity and happiness for our lives. Even though this was not a big gathering, our team was very pleased to do so and we regarded this simple activity as one of the valuable actions for us because at least we can share our condolences and care to our compatriots.
We will continue our support. If you would like to help us in this, you can donate directly to our organization. All donations will be gathered and brought to the victims’ families to help them with transport costs and any other expenses they have incurred in this tragic week.
With our warmest wishes
The Strey Khmer Team