Water festival health warning

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A team celebrates after the completion of their race. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Health Minister has called on revellers attending the Water Festival next week to avoid the most crowded places at the event.

Dr Mam Bun Heng said visitors to the festival can take some simple steps to protect their health.

“The Ministry of Health wants all citizens who visit the Water Festival ceremony to avoid crowded areas where it might be difficult to breathe,” he said.

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If people suffer headaches, dizziness, anxiousness, excessive sweating or difficulty breathing, they should sit down and find security officers or health staff to help them, he added.

Boat racers gather along the city’s riverside last year. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Dr Bun Heng also urged the public to be careful of eating food that isn’t cooked properly or prepared in unsanitary conditions, to prevent cases of food poisoning.

“Adults drinking alcohol should also do so responsibly and should not drink and drive,” he said.

Phnom Penh City Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdy said officials had prepared 466 toilets in 26 major locations, as well as 2,000 garbage bins, while more than 800 sanitation workers would be deployed.

He said nearly 60 ambulances will be on hand for the entire three days of the festival.

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Chan Yutha, a spokesman for the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said the water level in the Tonle Bassac River, where the boat racing will take place, should be good this year, at about 7.15 to 7.20 metres.

The Health Minister has asked people to remain vigilant during the festival. KT/Chor Sokunthea

He said there will be occasional rain over the three-day festival, which runs from Thursday to Saturday next week.

“The rain will not be enough to cause floods or any disruption. We will pay close attention to the weather forecast for the event,” he said.

Bou Chum Serei, permanent vice-chairman of the Committee for Organising National and International Festivals, confirmed 270 boats have registered to race in the festival.

This marks an increase from the 257 boats that came out last year.

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At night, 14 illuminated boats will be on display for visitors.

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