In the first three months of the year, strong winds and thunderstorms killed at least four people and damaged nearly 700 structures, including schools and some public administration buildings, according to a report released by the National Committee for Disaster Management and seen by The Post on April 3.
The report showed that during the transition into the dry season, early rain fell in many provinces. In the northwestern provinces and the northern highlands, these rains mixed with thunderstorms and strong winds, which often caused damage and the loss of some homes, as well as the lives of several people.
According to the data presented in the report, natural disasters caused by stormy weather occurred 19 times in 10 provinces – Kampong Thom, Battambang, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Kandal, Svay Rieng, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kampong Speu.
These disasters damaged 689 houses, six schools and a health centre and also claimed four lives.
“Two people were killed and three others were injured when a gust of wind blew down a house, while two others were killed and one was injured in a lightning strike,” it said.
Committee spokesman Soth Kim Kol told The Post that disaster response teams provided first aid to victims and began immediate repairs as soon as it was deemed safe.
“The government has prepared 12,000 tonnes of rice and other food items for disaster relief. About five tonnes of fresh vegetables were also distributed to people affected by natural disasters,” he said.
He called on people living in areas prone to high winds, thunder, drought or floods to pay closer attention to updated information on climate change. In order to reduce the risks posed by climate change – and to modernise the agricultural sector – they should seek out training in agricultural technology. Technical skills from expert officials would increase their ability to produce food to support their families and supply market demand.
According to forecasts by the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, Cambodia is currently experiencing high levels of La Nina weather, which will last until May. This means cooler temperatures but increased rainfall, which is good for agriculture, he added.
The monsoon rains have minimised the risk of water shortages that occurred earlier this year and made it easier for farmers to increase the amount of dry-season rice cultivation to 137.17 per cent of this year’s planned harvest.