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Feature: Cambodians try to handle aftermath of deadly stampede

11-24-2010 09:07 BJT

By Zhu Li, Zhang Ruiling

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- "I went to that island with my boyfriend last night to celebrate the Water Festival, but now I don't know his whereabout...I even don't know whether he is alive or not," said Na Song, a 22-year-old girl lying on a shabby mat along the corridor of the inpatient building of Calmette Hospital.

Na's mother, Thean Veng, said she got the news from Na's friend this morning that her daughter was one of the victims of the deadly stampede on a bridge, connecting an entertainment complex at Diamond Island and the mainland Phnom Penh.

"My daughter had difficulties in breathing and was once in critical condition. Now she still suffers severe stomachache and can eat nothing," said Thean Veng, who was from the Kampong Chuang province.

Monday, the final day of the annual Water Festival of Cambodia, saw at least 375 killed and 755 others injured as a sudden panic among the crowd caused the catastrophic stampede around 9:30 p.m. local time.

The injuries were rushed to six hospitals across the city, while the medical personnel said they were overwhelmed by so many patients coming up almost at the same time.

Soy Rakmey, a permanent health staff at Calmette Hospital, said that there were 53 patients in this building alone, while many others with minor injuries had left. "We are not worried about the supply of medicines, but we are short of beds," he said.

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