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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Medics ready for Sihanouk's mourners

Medics ready for Sihanouk's mourners

ambulances pha lina
Ambulances are parked outside a hospital in Phnom Penh, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

The Ministry of Health will deploy more than 300 medical personnel and 25 ambulances during the cremation ceremony of King Father Norodom Sihanouk to deal with any health concerns that may arise as thousands gather to pay their last respects to the late monarch.

According to Phnom Penh Municipal Health Department director Sok Sokun, his department will contribute nine ambulances and 285 medical professionals from February 1 to 7, while the Calmette, Khmer-Soviet Friendship, Preah Ketomealea, Ang Doung, National Maternal and Child Health Center, Phnom Penh referral and Preah Kosomak hospitals will be standing by to cope with any influx of patients.

“We will pay much attention on February 1st and 4th, because there are a lot of people who will gather around the Royal Palace and crematorium,” he said.

The medical workers will deal with problems similar to those faced during the week of official mourning, when 233 people were hospitalised for fainting, and more than 3,800 people were treated by medical staff stationed in front of the Royal Palace for dizziness, headaches and colds.

Sokun said that in addition to their station at the palace, his ambulances will be spread across four more sites: the National Museum, the old National Assembly, the festival organising committee headquarters and the other side of the Tonle Sap river, opposite the Royal Palace.

Other ambulances, he added, will be stationed at sites with high concentrations of spectators, and at the 14 screens set up to broadcast the cremation.

“The health officials will stand by at the ceremony and crowded places 24 hours a day, especially the first and fourth days, because most of the participants will be experiencing shock, suffering and strong regret, and will be crying a lot, making them weaker or more susceptible to fainting,” Sokun said.

He added that municipal health officials would be educating visitors from the provinces about proper sanitation practices to avoid getting sick.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at kunthear.mom@phnompenhpost.com

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