Condolences have begun pouring in for the victims of Monday night’s lethal stampede, as families grapple with the shocking loss that capped the Kingdom’s annual Water Festival.
King Norodom Sihamoni, King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Mother Monineath Sihanouk issued a letter yesterday, expressing condolences for those who died and were injured in the disaster.
Prime Minister Hun Sen called the event “the biggest tragedy since the Pol Pot regime” and called for an investigation via videoconference early on Tuesday morning.
At least 351 people lost their lives and another 395 were injured late on Monday night on Diamond Island’s northern bridge, according to Minister of Health Mam Bunheng, who chairs a government committee investigating the matter.
Regrets for the victims of the tragedy also flowed in from abroad late yesterday.
“On behalf of President [Barack] Obama and the people of the United States, I offer our deep condolences for the tragic loss of life and the injuries in Phnom Penh during Cambodia’s annual Water Festival,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims.”
Clinton said she had seen the “strength and resilience” of the Cambodian people first hand during her recent visit. “I am confident that they will pull together and persevere through this difficult time,” she added.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said he was ready to provide financial support to help Cambodia deal with the aftermath of its worst disaster in years.
“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”, Abhisit said. Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdi said Thailand would offer an initial US$30,000 in emergency aid.