Two more bodies were recovered from the site of Monday morning’s noodle factory explosion, raising the death toll to nine, police said Wednesday.
The body of Ros Chhoy, 25, was recovered 11:30 pm Tuesday, while the body of Se Minh, 18, was recovered 9:30 am Wednesday from the site in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district, district police Deputy Chief Yim Socheat said.
He said the body of one more missing person was still expected to be recovered from the site.
The number injured in the explosion fell from 17 to 16 on Tuesday, when a 19-year-old victim succumbed to injuries at Calmette Hospital, officials said.
The explosion emanated from an industrial-size pressure cooker, Phnom Penh First Deputy Governor Mam Bun Neang said. He said it was unknown whether the pressure cooker had exploded because of a technical fault or the negligence of those monitoring it.
Following an initially slow response by authorities, around 50 district police and municipal workers dug casually with shovels to clear the debris Wednesday.
Most lacked closed-toe shoes or basic face masks to protect them from the debris and thick white dust that hung in the air. The team was put together by the Phnom Penh Municipality, which on Wednesday said that it lacks an established emergency service.
“We just called together police and municipal workers,” Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun said.
Municipal Director of the Cambodian Red Cross Chhoeng Ngan said Wednesday that it was not involved with the rescue effort, citing a lack of staff.
His comment comes on the heel of a Feb 18 revenue drive in which the Red Cross raised $1.9 million. Chhoeng Ngan said, however, that small gifts of money would be given to those injured.
Kok Lim, 40, a brother of one of the deceased factory owners, said the family has been besieged by people seeking compensation.
“Three-hundred people have come to my door,” he said, adding that he did not know what the family intended to do with the demolished property.
(Additional reporting by Phann Ana and Saing Soenthrith)