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Bayon TV Begins Disbursement of Bridge Donations

By last Friday evening, Bayon TV had raised more than $1.08 million and CTN had brought in more than $500,000.

Eighty-three families of victims from last week’s bridge stampede received a first round of donations from Bayon TV, collecting more than $5,000 each.

The TV station raised the money from its Cambodian audience following the Nov. 22 bridge disaster, which left 351 people dead and 395 injured.

Tit Thavrith, deputy director of Bayon Radio and TV, said the disbursement was a “first step” to compensate victims of the disaster and would be followed by teams making provincial trips.

Bayon TV said it collected more than $2.5 million in the week following the deadly bridge stampede, one of the worst disasters in recent Cambodian history.

Tit Thavrith said the disbursements should end speculation the TV station would not transparently issue the money.

The money will help the families of victims to reduce expenditures, such as seven-day and hundred-day ceremonies, Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema said during a distribution ceremony at Bayon TV station on Wednesday. “But this money cannot fully compensate the loss to the families.”

Chan Serey, a 45-year-old soldier stationed in Kampong Speu province, who lost his wife and three children in the stampede, said the money was more than he had seen before, but it could not make up for the death of his family.

He would use the money to open a small shop in his house in Kampong Chhnang province, he said.

Phea Chan Nara, 43, whose brother was killed on the bridge, said he would use the money to hold the 100-day funeral ceremony and help his elderly mother.