Cambodia - Thailand

Cambodian bridge death toll rises to nearly 380

Reuters
2 min

Relatives of the victims of Monday's stampede in Cambodia scoured makeshift morgues in search of the bodies of their loved ones on Tuesday. It is now estimated that around 380 people have died in the tragedy, which took place at a water festival.

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Survivors have said rumours circulated that a small bridge was unsafe, leading to panic and fear as people were trampled underfoot by crowds trying to escape. Many fell or jumped into the river below.

"I am looking for my husband's brother and sister.  They're about 20 years old.  I've been calling them all night on their mobile phones, but they don't answer", one woman told RFI.

"It was early this morning when my brother called me to say my aunt was dead.  That's why we're here.  We've come to the hospital to identify her body", said another.

A national day of mourning has been declared on Thursday.

Thailand has now offered nearly 23,000 euros in emergency aid. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said his government was ready to provide support and assistance to “our friends in Cambodia”. The two countries share a long border, where a dispute led to heavy troop build-ups two years ago.

“On behalf of the Thai government and the people of Thailand I wish to extend my sincere condolences and sympathy to you, and through you, to the bereaved families of the victims in this tragic incident”, said Abhisit.

The United States has also extended its “deep condolences” for the tragic loss of life. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked on the “strength and resilience” of the Cambodian people which she observed during her visit earlier this month.

Festival-goers had been crossing the bridge to reach an island hosting concerts, food stalls and ice sculptures before the crowd turned to a desperate crush of human bodies.

Many of the deaths were caused by suffocation and internal injuries, and about two-thirds of the dead were women.

 

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