MORE than 4,000 police will be deployed to maintain security in Phnom Penh during the annual Water Festival holiday later this month, officials said.
“We are busy holding meetings to discuss about providing security during the Water Festival ... and we have prepared more than 4,000 police officers to maintain the safety of our people, who will come from all the provinces to attend the boat races,” said Phnom Penh deputy police chief Pol Pithey.
He said fire trucks and ambulances would also be placed on standby in case of any emergencies.
The Water Festival, one of the Kingdom’s biggest holidays, falls on November 20-22 and will see a massive influx of visitors from the countryside, drawn by the iconic boat races on the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers.
The holiday marks the reversal of the waters in the Tonle Sap, which changes direction twice a year because of the inundation of the Tonle Sap lake to the northeast.
Pol Pithey said he expected an unprecedented number of people to descend on Phnom Penh for this year’s holiday.
“More and more people come from year to year during the Water Festival because they have better living standards, good transportation and our country has especially good security and is peaceful for them,” he said.
Chea Sokhom, vice president and secretary general of the government’s Festival Committee, said yesterday that he did not know the number of boats that would race during the festival, but that it would be known a week ahead of the holiday. A total of 391 boats registered to compete in last year’s races, according to the committee.