Gov’t Offers Funds, Condolences to Victims

Government officials on Tues­day voiced their condolences over the thousands of deaths re­corded in neighboring countries due to Sunday’s undersea earthquake and resulting tsunami. But they were quick to reassure people that Cambodia has been affected neither physically nor economically by the disaster.

Water conditions off the coast of Sihanoukville and Koh Kong province were normal, said Nhim Vanda, first vice-president of the National Disaster Management Committee. “So far there is no sign Cambodia will be affected,” he said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has sent letters expressing sympathy to some of the countries im­pacted by the giant waves, including India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, according to a state­ment Tuesday from the Min­istry of Foreign Affairs.

The government has also de­cided to provide a “very modest” contribution of $40,000 to help victims in those countries, it added.

Ships, meanwhile, continued to transport goods unhindered to and from Cambodia, said Kek Ravy, founder of the country’s former shipping registry. “So far there is no suspension or ban on shipping activities,” he said Tuesday.

Most ships coming to Cam­bodia travel from Singapore and this route was not hit by the tsunami, Kek Ravy said.

Tourism Minister Lay Prohas also said the tsunami is not ex­pected to hurt Cambodia’s tour­ism industry.

News reports from Bangkok reported it could take up to two years for Thai­land’s tourism businesses to recover.

In the face of other countries’ mis­fortunes, he said, Cambodia may even benefit.

“Tourists might look for another destination,” he said.

Sith Vannarith, director of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology’s department of meteorology, said Cambodia has no equipment to monitor seismic activity, but the government ob­serves water conditions in the Gulf of Thailand by keeping in constant contact with Thai and Vietnamese authorities.

Though the country would be ill-equipped to handle a tsunami, she said: “Cambodia is geographically not vulnerable to storms or quakes.”

(Additional reporting by Wency Leung)


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