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Massive payout for Sihanoukville collapse victims

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said families of 28 victims who died during the collapse of a Chinese-owned building under construction in Preah Sihanouk province last week will receive more than $100,000 in compensation each.

Background: Deadly construction collapse mounts to 28

The collapse happened at about 4am last Saturday, killing 28 workers and burying alive 26 others, the last of whom was rescued nearly 60 hours later.

Mr Hun Sen made the statement about the $100,000 compensation at a disabled children event he presided over yesterday. He said the money will come from the government and humanitarian organisations.

“This money cannot be compared to the lives lost,” Mr Hun Sen said, adding the money will ensure that victims’ families will not become impoverished.

Read More: Buried alive but not alone: Sihanoukville survivors’ stories

Upon hearing about the news, Facebook users yesterday said money should also be given to rescue workers. Mr Hun Sen responded by saying rescue workers will also be shown gratification.

“I will provide $200 for male rescue workers and $300 to female rescue workers,” he said, noting that female rescue workers had to work harder than their male counterparts.

Mr Hun Sen said an awards ceremony will be held for 35 rescue workers who worked to help clear the building’s debris and rescued victims.

Opinion: Scrutinising building approvals better late than never

“I will prepare a ceremony to give them gold medals,” he said, noting that buildings collapse elsewhere around the world. “This case also happened in Bangladesh, Taiwan, China and other countries, but we do not want this case to occur.”

Seng Nong, director of the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Referral Hospital, yesterday said all victims have been discharged from hospital.

“The last four victims returned home on June 27, inluding Ros Sitha and Kak Kea, who were rescued on the final day,” Mr Nong said. “All survivors were not seriously injured, so they left the hospital.”

Mr Sitha, one of the survivors, said he and three others left hospital last week.

“Three other victims and I asked the hospital to leave on Thursday because we had gotten better,” he said, noting that he received more than $30,000 through a newly-created bank account from Mr Hun Sen and humanitarian organisations. “I thank Samdech prime minister and humanitarian organisations that helped prepare the funds for me.”

In a joint statement issued yesterday, 100 organisations and community groups noted that other buildings collapsed in the past in the Kingdom.

They said in the statement that last year, a collapse of a floor in Mekong View 6 killed two workers and injured at least five others. It said that in August a building under construction collapsed in Russei Keo district. No one was injured in the incident.

Additionally, it noted that other collapses happened in 2013, which caused the death of two people. The organisations noted that these collapses were preventable.

“Often, construction projects use sub-contractors who provide unreasonable working conditions, violate workers’ fundamental legal rights and do not fulfil their duties to guarantee health and safety,” the statement said.”

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