People gather outside a Cambodian hospital on Nov 23 after the stampede. Catholics have visited the injured and given them cash. CNS photo

PHNOM PENH – Phnom Penh Catholics have responded to the recent Water Festival tragedy which killed at least 375 revellers by organising hospital visits to survivors of the deadly stampede.

“We come here to share the sorrow,” said Ms Sang Yeth, a member of the charity committee of St Joseph’s Church.

On Nov 26, she led a group of parishioners to Preah Ketomilia Hospital in the capital where more than 40 of the injured were hospitalised.

Hundreds more injured are being treated at other hospitals.

The parishioners also distributed 40,000 riel (about S$13) to each victim, most of whom were poor farmers who came from the provinces to celebrate the festival in the capital.

Ms Sam Sotom, who was caring for her three injured sons, told that she was grateful for the Church’s support.

Local priest Father Bruno Cosme added that the Catholic group wanted to show their solidarity with the victims.

“We take time to talk, to encourage people, to give hope,” he said.

Parishioners and students from the Church-run Don Bosco schools in Cambodia are also collecting money to assist the victims.

Meanwhile, Caritas Cambodia has joined with other NGOs to provide daily meals to 450 patients in five hospitals where the injured have been admitted.

“We are doing this because the hospitals could not provide food for them,” explained Mr Sok Sakhan, the Caritas disaster management officer.

Earlier on Nov 25, all Catholic churches in Cambodia offered Masses and prayed for the victims of the tragedy. UCANEWS.COM

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