Water Festival Boat Races to Return in 2016: Hun Sen

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on Wednesday that the country would resume holding a three-day Water Festival this year after canceling the annual festivity four times in the past five years.

Since a fatal stampede at the 2010 Water Festival killed more than 300 people, the holiday has been canceled due to flooding, the death of King Norodom Sihanouk, and, last year, low water levels due to drought.

This year, however, Mr. Hun Sen said the festival—scheduled for November 13 through 15—would definitely be on.

“This year we must do Water Festival, so let’s get ready in preparing racing boats,” he said during a speech at a graduation ceremony at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh.

Mr. Hun Sen said that despite the drought still afflicting much of the country, the Tonle Sap river was projected to be 9.3 meters deep by November, making boat racing possible.

Hong Dane, a 19-year-old student in Phnom Penh, said she was excited for the return of the races.

“It’s a very important event for Cambodians, so I’m happy the government leader decided to resume holding this event,” she said.

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