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Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Expected Traffic Disruptions and Potential for Increased Crime during Water Festival

East Asia & Pacific > Cambodia; East Asia & Pacific > Cambodia > Phnom Penh

The U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh informs U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Cambodia of the expected large crowds, traffic disruptions, and potential for increased crime in Phnom Penh during Water Festival, which is scheduled for November 13-16, 2016.  As many as two million people are expected to come into Phnom Penh for this event.

Traffic will be extremely heavy throughout Phnom Penh, particularly in the afternoon and evening hours, and local authorities are expected to restrict traffic and even close some roads in an effort to control crowds.  You should exercise caution in large crowds and leave the area if you are concerned for your safety.  Fatalities occurred during the 2010 event, when 347 people were killed and over 700 were injured in a stampede on a bridge to Diamond Island.  The ability of the local authorities, as well as the U.S. Embassy, to respond to emergencies will be limited during Water Festival due to the severe traffic disruptions.

The Embassy also encourages you to remain alert to local security developments by monitoring local news reports, and to be vigilant regarding your personal security as the incidence of crime against foreigners tends to increase during local holidays.  If someone attempts to rob you, we strongly advise you to surrender your valuables immediately, as any perceived resistance may be met with physical violence, including lethal force.  To avoid the risk of theft of original documents, the U.S. Embassy advises you to carry photocopies of your U.S. passport, driver's license, and other important documents, and leave the originals in a hotel safe or other secure place.

Please note that the Embassy will be closed due to U.S. and local holidays from Friday, November 11 through Tuesday, November 15, 2016. We will reopen for normal business hours on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. In the event of an emergency outside of normal business hours, please call +855 23-728000.  Press 1 and then 0 to be transferred to the operator.

For further information about security in Cambodia: 

·         See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Cambodia Specific Information.  

·         Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 

·         Contact the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia, located at No. 1, Street 96, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh, at +855 (0)23 728 402 or + 855 (0)23 728 0518:00 am to 5:00 pmMonday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is + 855 (0)23 728 000.  

·         Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). 

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