This year’s Water Festival in Phnom Penh will have more than 400 boats, nine lantern boats and 27,000 racers participating in the annual three-day event, Deputy Secretary-General of the National and International Ceremony Organizing Committee Chea Kean said yesterday.
“This year the number of boats increased to 420. Last year, there were only 396,” Mr Kean said, adding that there will be no foreign boats included in this year’s boat races.
Mr Kean said that more than 20 motorboats equipped with doctors would be deployed along the Tonle Sap river in case boats have an accident. However, there will be no life jackets available, he said.
Mr Kean also said King Norodom Sihamoni will preside over the festival but he was not sure if Prime Minister Hun Sen, Senate President Chea Sim or National Assembly President Heng Samrin would be part of the ceremony.
Phnom Penh deputy municipal governor Pa Socheatvong, said on Thursday that more than 9,000 municipal and military police officers would be on duty during the festival, which starts on Nov 20.
“I think that this year about three million people will visit during the festival because we have good roads and good security,” he said.
Mr Socheatvong added that the municipal authority would deploy more public toilets and trash bins to try and keep the city cleaner than in previous years.
Seng Chamroeun, deputy director of the rubbish company Cintri said the company plans to add 350 workers to its daily workforce and more than 1,000 rubbish bins during this year’s festival.
Mr Chamroeun said yesterday that during previous Water Festivals he has noticed that some areas in the city stay clean while others become dirty.
But Mr Chamroeun noted that Cintri alone could not keep the city clean.
“I would like the visitors and vendors to join with us to make the city clean by throwing trash away in the trash bins,” he said. “Even though we work hard or have a good plan, the city will never be clean if they don’t join us.”