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Scores hurt as roof collapses at pagoda

SEVENTY-ONE Buddhist laymen, nuns and monks were injured on Friday when a pagoda dining hall they were praying in collapsed in Prey Veng province’s Mesang district, police officials said yesterday.

Provincial police chief Toem Phan said that eight of the seventy-one people were seriously injured when a dining hall roof at Svay Chrum pagoda in Svay Chrum commune caved in, but that no one had died in the incident.

“The dining hall is old and it was repaired about two years ago with old wood, so it could not support more people and that is why it fell down,” he said.

He added that most of the injured sent to district and referral hospitals had later been discharged.

Mesang district police chief Nov Hach said that  there were about 500 people inside the dining hall when it collapsed.

“The old lattices fell on around 200 people underneath, but some people rushed to catch other goods that were falling down,” he said, adding that officials were appealing for donations to help build a new dining hall for laymen, nuns and local villagers.

“The authorities will repair it if there are no donations to build a new one for the villagers but we don’t have much money to build it,” Nov Hach said.

He added that those who were not injured seriously were lucky to have avoided hard or sharp objects. But he added that he pitied those who were hurt, as many were elderly people.



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