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City Hall begins plans for Water Festival

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
Boat racers prepare during the festival last year. KT/Mai Vireak

City hall has issued instruction for all departments to prepare for the upcoming Water Festival in November.

Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng issued the instruction last week to inform departments and all districts to register the name, number and history of boats that will compete in the races during the festival.

“The boat racers have to be able to swim,” he said. “They have to register with the National Committee for Organising National and International Festivals.”

He noted that the committee must educate racers about the ins and outs of the festival.
The annual boat races in which mark the Water Festival will be held between November 21 and 23.
Mr Sreng added that the Phnom Penh Culture and Fine Arts department has to organise art programmes and a concert at Wat Phnom, and in front of Botum pagoda, Hun Sen Park and the Koh Pich exhibition centre.

“Phnom Penh municipal police and military police officials in the 12 districts in the city have to organise a plan to ensure the safety of festival goers,” he said. “Public order and traffic flow must be maintained.”

Cambodia celebrates the Water Festival every year, but the event was suspended four times since 2011 for various reasons, including flooding and the death of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk.

Boat racers wait for their turn during last year’s festival. KT/Mai Vireak

During the festival last year, between 1.3 to 1.5 million visitors attended the races, which involved 270 boats and 17,826 rowers.

Last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the boat racing this year will hopefully go forward as planned.

If the water level in the river is too high or too low, the boats cannot race,” Mr Hun Sen noted. “We suspended boat racing two times already due to the water level.”

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