|A policeman stands guard outside a warehouse where three women were crushed to death in a stampede while waiting to receive a cash donation in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo by=AFP/STR)|
[아시아뉴스통신=레악카나 기자] Three women were trampled to death during a stampede for a US$8 cash handout in Colombo on Thursday (May 21), amid growing desperation among Sri Lankans. About 1,000 people queued outside a businessman's warehouse for his annual handout during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, local member of parliament Mujibur Rahman said. 1,500 rupee gift or about the same amount as a labourer's daily wage.
"Some people tried to break the queue and enter," Rahman told AFP."That is when the women at the top of the queue fell and were trampled to death." Nine others were seriously hurt in the stampede and taken to hospital, he said, adding that there was a larger-than-usual crowd during this year's event, which has taken place for decades.
"People have not earned any money for two months because of the virus lockdown (since Mar 20)," Rahman said."People are desperate. When they heard about today's donation, over a thousand turned up." The businessman, who has not been named by authorities, and five of his assistants were arrested for violating the lockdown, Colombo police chief Deshabandu Tennakoon told reporters.