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Travel alerts for the week of Nov. 28

November 28, 2010 1 comment

Five countries marked as travel alerts for the week of November 28

1 Cambodia: The stampede in Phnom Penh on Nov. 22 that killed at least 349 people and injured hundreds more is a grim reminder that travelers should assess conditions before they join the throng at crowded festivals. An estimated 2 million people had crowded into the capital city for the three-day water festival that marks the end of the rainy season.

2 Dominican Republic: Cholera has spread from neighboring Haiti to the Dominican Republic, but the likelihood that the disease will affect tourists is minimal. The disease spreads via poor sanitation, and the popular tourist areas in the Dominican Republic, in general, have adequate health facilities. The current outbreak has killed more than 1,100 and hospitalized 18,000 more in Haiti.

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Categories: Others

Cambodian stampede had air of inevitability

November 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Was aThe appalling human tragedy during the annual Bon Om Touk Festival in Phnom Penh was not only predictable but also preventable

Source: Bangkok Post

AFTERMATH: People place offerings and incense sticks for the victims of the stampede near the Diamond Gate bridge.

Cambodia’s Rainbow Bridge tragedy is the country’s biggest peacetime disaster, and the world’s second worst such calamity after a similar stampede across the Tigris River in Baghdad left about 1,000 dead in 2005.

Rumours, panic and flight dominated both catastrophes as the sheer weight of numbers at this year’s Bon Om Touk, or Water Festival in Phnom Penh resulted in an extraordinary death toll.

At the last count 347 (seems to be the most recent figure) people, mostly women, had died and at least another 755 were injured on the suspension bridge that linked the recently developed Diamond Island with the Cambodian capital across the Bassac River.

The response _ dominated by the blame game, the launch of special investigations, a day of mourning, pledges of financial support and condolences from across the globe _ was sadly almost as predictable as the crush itself.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith perhaps encapsulated the perspective of authorities before Monday evening’s tragedy when he told journalists that police had been more concerned with pickpockets and boats capsizing than ”this kind of incident”.

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Categories: Others

Koh Pich security guard died mysteriously

November 28, 2010 2 comments

Source: Khmerization

 

The body of Tep Virak with swollen belly and (inset) Tep Virak in his security guard uniform.

A security guard working at the Koh Pich Bridge on the night of the stampede which killed 347 people has died mysteriously upon returning home 5 days after the stampede.

40 year-old Tep Virak, died at 1 a.m on the morning of Friday 27th when he returned home 5 days after he finished his shift on the night of the stampede. His wife, 30 year-old Oeur Chanthou, said since finishing his shift at Koh Pich on the night of the stampede on Monday the 22nd November, her husband did not return home. He just returned home on Thursday night 26th November, but died mysteriously early Friday morning.

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Categories: Others

Paying a high price for cheap sex

November 27, 2010 Leave a comment


Saturday, November 27, 2010
IrishTimes.com

Prostitutes outside a brothel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photograph: Rob Elliott/AFP/Getty Images

MAGAN’ WORLD: Manchán Magan’s tales of a travel addict

HOW MUCH for a really good hooker in Cambodia these days? For a young one, just down from her remote mountain village.

As a travel supplement aimed at helping travellers get the best from their holidays it would be remiss of us not to cover this important tourism growth area. After all, 22 per cent of foreign visitors to Cambodia in 2000 were there for sex; no doubt some may have been Irish Times readers. So, in the interests of catering to readers of all tastes, let’s seek out the best value for yam-yam and bam-bam.
It might help first to take a quick glance at international sex trafficking statistics, as a large proportion of Cambodian sex workers are trafficked in from Vietnam and northern Thailand. The pretty little girl you buy is likely to have been either kidnapped by neighbours or sold by desperate relatives for a few hundred euro.
She will probably have been held in the brothel you found her in, or in some squat belonging to the pimp from whom you bought her, but one needn’t think of it as imprisonment.
Categories: Others

Black Friday sales lead to mob like stampede

November 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Calcutta News.Net
Saturday 27th November, 2010

Just days after a stampede in Cambodia killed several hundred people during an annual festival, a New York store has become the scene of a potentially deadly stampede as hundreds of Black Friday shoppers surged into the North Buffalo Target outlet.

The Target store, like many large retailers throughout the country, was offering vast holiday discounts, creating a melee outside as people awaited the opening of the doors.

When the doors were opened Friday morning, those closest to the front were pushed forward and knocked to their feet by the crowd behind, reports local news station WIVB.

People pushing into the line reportedly contributed to the situation, which quickly got out of control and become what one shopper, Rich Mathewson, called “a mob”.

Staff at the Target store fought to regain control of the situation, but Target has not revealed the extent of injuries, beyond insisting that the safety of its customers is a top priority.

 

Categories: Others

Ghosts Descend on Bridge of Death

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Haunted ... Sopheap Meng at the end of Rainbow Bridge, where his brother Sovaan died on Monday night. Photo: Ben Doherty

PHNOM PENH: The short, narrow suspension bridge that links Phnom Penh with Diamond Island has not re-opened, but it hardly matters. Few are likely to walk on it again.

The Khmers of Cambodia are Buddhists, but they hold strongly to ancient animist beliefs. The bridge is a bad place now. The spirits of those killed – the 347 who died when a crowd celebrating the water festival stampeded here on Monday night – will keep people away.

Sopheap Meng has come back one last time to farewell his brother. They were together when the panic hit.

He gripped Sovaan’s hand as tightly as he could, fighting the crush that pushed him to the ground. “But there was no air; I could not breathe. I got pushed to the side of the bridge. People were falling all around, onto my arm, so I had to let go.”

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Banana Rumour Sparks Concern

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment

The Phnom Penh Post

Photo by: Heng Chivoan

The price of bananas doubled to 5,000 riel a bunch in Phnom Penh markets yesterday, according to buyers, as unsubstantiated rumours circulated that the fruit was costing up to US$5 a bunch. Bananas – used by Cambodians in ceremonies such as funerals – have been in high demand, but supplies have been short, according to sellers, due to transport blocks associated with the Water Festival. Despite fears of exorbitant mark-ups expressed by would-be buyers yesterday, bunches were selling at around double the normal price of 2,300 riel. New supplies were thought to have resumed.

Categories: Others