Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kep building collapse survivors recover, rescuers dispatched to China for training

Kep building collapse survivors recover, rescuers dispatched to China for training

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A rescue team leaves for China to receive training on Monday. Photo supplied

Kep building collapse survivors recover, rescuers dispatched to China for training

Most of the 23 survivors of a six-storey building which collapsed in Kep province on Friday have recovered. The incident claimed 36 lives.

Twelve survivors including three women have been discharged from hospital after being treated for slight injuries while seven are still being treated and have mostly recovered.

The remaining four were transferred to a hospital in neighbouring Kampot province, as it is closer to their homes.

Kep provincial administration spokesman Ros Udong said on Monday that the quick recovery was due to the medical staff’s attentive treatment.

“Before returning to Phnom Penh, Prime Minister [Hun Sen] instructed health officials to care for the victims attentively. Their conditions improved fast, so some of them asked to return home,” he said.

The rescue operation to uncover survivors and bodies trapped in the rubble took 43 hours and 20 minutes. It ended on Sunday noon. While commending rescuers for their efforts, Hun Sen said they still needed further training for future operations.

“I thank Chinese specialists from Preah Sihanouk province for joining the rescue in Kep. They are experienced in saving victims of the collapsed buildings and gathered to save those at the site.

“Using human-finding methods, they could determine places where people might be trapped alive. I also requested the Chinese specialists to help Cambodian forces with more training,” Hun Sen said.

In responding to the prime minister’s request, seven crew members of the search and rescue team from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ (RCAF) Brigade 70 on Monday were dispatched to China for more training in rescue skills.

The RCAF said the crew will undergo 10 days of training in Beijing from January 6-16 and learn how to rescue victims of fires, road accidents and collapsed buildings.

Brigadier General Soy Narith said the crew comprised of six members of the rescue team from Brigade 70’s Unit 711 and a member from Brigade 70’s 911 Parachute Regiment.

“They will acquire skills to search for victims and rescue those in fires and collapsed buildings,” he said.

Narith said Brigade 70 trains forces in rescuing fire and building collapse victims every year. The brigade has also sent its forces to undergo similar training in other partner countries such as Japan.

“Now the world uses modern rescue techniques and materials, so we have to send our forces to our developed partner countries for such training,” he said.

During the search and rescue operation in Kep, a total of 59 people were recovered from the debris, 22 of them women. Among the 23 survivors were a child and eight women. The dead included 14 women and five children.

The incident followed a similar building collapse in Preah Sihanouk province in June, in which 28 construction workers died and another 26 sustained injuries. Some of the survivors in this incident were trapped under rubble for 48 hours.


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