Sun Narin and Ngo Menghourng
Phnom Penh Post/LIFT
Cambodian people have been shocked, agonizing and so pitiful to the victims affected by the bridge stampede at Diamond Island on the night of November 22nd, the final day of water festival. Immediately after the incident happened, the Cambodia’s government has decided to provide five million riel to each dead victim’s family and free treatment service to the injured.
Cambodia’s Royal Family has offered donations of $400 to families of the dead and $200 for the injured. Also, Overseas Cambodia Investment Corp (OCIC) who invested at Diamond Island provided 1000 dollars to the deaths and 200 dollars to the injured.
Besides these, television stations such as Cambodia Television Network (CTN) and Bayon TV, phone companies including Cellcard, Smart mobile and Beeline, public and private institutions as well as student teams and schools set up a charity foundation to raise fund for the dead victims’ families and the survivors.
By Sunday evening, Bayon TV had raised more than $1.2 million and 245 million riel and CTN had brought in more than $ 850,000 and they will give to the survivors and relatives this week, according to the representatives from both televisions. In addition, people who want to contribute money can send the SMS to the number 8189 and it will charge 25 cents for each message.
People, student teams and some organizations go to meet the injured at the hospital directly, giving money and other donation stuffs which they have collected to the injured and families whose relatives were dead.
Chhay Chansopheaktra, the sub team leader of student donation called 22/11 Foundation, said that she has been raising money around 3000 dollars until Saturday. She is continuing raising it from the university students across Phnom Penh and parade along the street.
She said that her team went to 3 hospitals including Cambodia-Russia Friendship hospital, Preah Kosamak and Keto Melea, adding that she gave 300 dollars or 100 dollars to the dead families and 30 dollars to the injured.
“Most people who contributed money through her charity think that they do not want to donate money through televisions since they are skeptical the money reaches the hands of people,” she said.
However, Huot Kheangveng, the deputy general director of Bayon television network, said that the donation money that his television received will be for the deceased families only, adding that there is no fund for the injured so far and stupas for the deaths.
“We will take this money to the dead victim’s families by dividing to the number of the deaths,” adding that we will go directly to give to the victim’s families and do it carefully and transparently according to the documents from the relevant ministries.
He added that all the money will go to 351 dead victims and each dead person will get an average amount of money of 5200 dollars.
Pol Vibo, deputy general manager at television station CTN, said that his TV will guarantee that the money will go to people.
“Our staffs do not take this money even a penny,” he said, adding that the money will help both the injured and the deceased, adding that he is meeting with the committee to discuss how to distribute the money.
He said that his television charity has 50,000 dollars for the stupas, which supported by Ankor beer company.
CTN and Bayon have continuously taken donations, at time broadcasting pleas for aid and running donation totals during regular programming.
The OCIC Spokesman Charles Vann said that it is kind of helping that his company gave some money to the families and the injured, adding that “It is not because it is relevant to his investment place,” he said.
Post wrote one article on last Friday on 26th about the uncertainty over the compensation.
Takeo province resident Seng Ung, whose brother was among those injured on Monday, said that so far, my brother did not receive any money at all, adding that she did not know how to get this money and she wondered where she could go to get it.
Ung Samkhan, another Takeo resident whose brother was treated at Calmette Hospital said that she is now waiting to see what the company will do about her brother’s injury.
Critics are concerned that there will be little transparency for the fundraising, similar situation to the border dispute with Thailand since 2008, but people agree that, “Charity shows that Khmer love Khmer,”