On November 22, 2010, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, thousands of people came together to celebrate the annual Water Festival. When participants were struck by panic, a stampede ensued resulting in the deaths of 351 people and injuries to another 750 victims, turning the most joyful events into tragedy.
The current population of Cambodians in the City of Long Beach, California is the largest outside of Phnom Penh. It is known that many relatives of Long Beach residents attended the Water Festival. The final report of the injuries sustained is pending.
The Water Festival in Cambodia takes place each year in November during the full moon, and is considered the most extravagant and exuberant festival on the Khmer calendar. The tragedy occurred around 10:00 PM on the third and final day of the Water Festival, which is estimated to attract a third of the country’s population of 14 million.
In response, PTPI’s Long Beach, California Chapter has established relief efforts to assist. Thanks to their efforts, the City of Long Beach, Mayor and Members of the City Council unanimously passed a motion to encourage residents of Long Beach to help. You can help as well. Contributions may be directed to PTPI’s International Friendship Fund through the end of December, 2010. When making a donation, please note that it is for “Cambodia Disaster Relief.”
Chapter member Ms. Thary Ung will lead a delegation to Cambodia in mid-January 2011 to distribute the funds. Working with the Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia, H.E, Mrs. Mem Sam An, the Royal Government will provide a list of victims. The group will visit the victims and distribute the funds to those with a verifiable form of ID. The group will document the work so that it may be shared with the City of Long Beach and fellow members of PTPI.
For more information, contact the following members of PTPI’s Long Beach Chapter:
Ms. Thary Ung, Coordinator, 626.383.7559 (cell) or email at Thary_ung@yahoo.com
Mr. Anthony Kim, Assistant Coordinator, 626.261.0765 (cell) or email firstname.lastname@example.org