PHNOM PENH, Nov. 2, (Khmer Times) – The tragedy at Diamond Island during the last Water Festival in 2010, which saw more than 350 people trampled to death, served as a warning to the Cambodian government to strengthen safety measures and security for this year’s festival.
Aeon Mall, Cambodia’s most modern shopping complex, is expecting to welcome huge crowds now the Water Festival is back on track.
In a press conference at the Commissariat of National Police on Sunday, National Police spokesman Kiet Chantharith announced that 400 members of the national police force will be deployed at Aeon Mall during the three-day festival.
“We have arranged for 400 police to facilitate security and safeguard the surroundings of Aeon Mall,” he said, adding that a similar number will also be deployed on Diamond Island, with a particular focus on helping with traffic flow around the bridge areas.
He said that a section of Sothearos Boulevard leading to Aeon Mall will be used for one-way traffic flowing from north to south, since the boulevard is small and is prone to congestion during the festival.
Phnom Penh Municipality spokesman Long Dimanche estimated that two million residents from other provinces will be coming to Phnom Pen to attend this year’s festival.
In November 2010, more than 350 Cambodians died during the tragic stampede at Diamond Gate Bridge, leading to the cancellation of festivities for the last three years.
The final details regarding the deployment of police and other security matters will be decided on Monday, when authorities are scheduled to meet again.