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Water Festival deaths down on last year

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Dragon boat crews take part in races as part of Water Festival celebrations on the Tonle Sap river in Phnom Penh last week. Eleven boats sank over the course of the three-day festival but no one died or was injured, authorities reported. Hong Menea

Water Festival deaths down on last year

At least 16 people were killed and 60 more injured in road accidents nationwide during the three-day Water Festival last week.

However, the figures were lower than last year, according to a report by the Department of Traffic Police and Public Order obtained by The Post on Sunday.

The report said Phnom Penh saw the most accidents, with four people killed and 14 injured.

In Banteay Meanchey province, three people died and one was injured, while in Battambang province, two were killed and one injured.

Two died and seven were injured in Kampong Thom, while Svay Rieng province reported the same fatalities but with only one injury.

In Preah Sihanouk province, two people were killed and four injured, while Tbong Khmum province reported one death and one injury.

Speeding, drink driving, disobeying traffic signs and overtaking without due attention to oncoming traffic were blamed for the accidents.

“The death rate over the three-day 2018 Water Festival declined by nine people compared to the event last year, when 25 people died,” the report said.

Eleven dragon boats competing in races along the Tonle Sap river in the capital as part of the festivities sank.

But no one died or suffered injuries due to the timely intervention of naval forces and police, said a National Committee for Organising National and International Festivals report.

Secretariat of the Protection Commission for National and International Festivals head Chhay Kim Khoeun said in the report that during the Water Festival celebrations, which ran from Wednesday to Friday, authorities seized shirts bearing the words “Police” and “Army” from 33 people.

They were “educated” to stop wearing such shirts as they were not members of the security forces, the report said.

Three people were arrested by authorities for operating drones in a prohibited area without permission. They also received instruction.

“The authorities rescued 182 people who got lost, including 173 children under 10 years old and 57 girls, eight elderly people and one Vietnamese tourist,” Kim Khoeun said, adding that 4.5 million people had visited Phnom Penh for this year’s Water Festival.