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Bridge victims, kin invited to ceremony

A man places an offering at the memorial site of the Koh Pich bridge stampede during a commemorative ceremony last year
A man places an offering at the memorial site of the Koh Pich bridge stampede during a commemorative ceremony last year. Heng Chivoan

Bridge victims, kin invited to ceremony

Survivors and relatives of the more than 350 people who died in the 2010 Koh Pich tragedy were invited to attend the fourth annual remembrance ceremony by Phnom Penh City Hall yesterday, but one survivor yesterday seemed less than eager to show up.

Touch Resmey, 42, whose younger sister was killed during the bridge stampede, said she would not be attending the ceremony because it would bring back painful memories.

“I will not go to join the ceremony at Koh Pich because I will see where the accident happened on the bridge. I don’t want to be reminded of that again,” Resmey, who was also injured at Koh Pich, told the Post.

The planned ceremony follows the first annual Water Festival to be held in Phnom Penh since the tragedy.

Despite expected crowds into the millions, this year’s festival was rather subdued compared with previous ones. Many stayed at home out of fear for their safety, or to avoid the angry ghosts of those killed in the stampede.

In late 2011, a new “twin dragon” bridge was completed to replace the bridge where the disaster took place, which was demolished.

Instead of attending Saturday’s event, Resmey said she will hold a personal remembrance ceremony, as she does each year, in her home province of Svay Rieng.

“I will never forget what happened to my sister. I always hold a small ceremony for her at home,” she said.

On November 22, 2010, 353 people were killed and hundreds injured during a stampede on the bridge connecting Koh Pich, also known as Diamond Island, to the west bank of the Tonle Bassac River.

A highly criticised government investigation initiated after the disaster deemed it an accident. No one was found responsible for the tragedy.

Saturday’s ceremony is to be attended by city Governor Pa Socheatvong, municipal officials and district officials. More than 100 monks are to receive donated food dedicated to the deceased, according to a statement released on Thursday.

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