The spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management yesterday noted an increase in the number of people killed and injured during natural disasters last year.
According to NCDM spokesman Keo Vy, 179 people were killed and 249 people were injured due to storms, floods and lightning last year. In 2017, natural disasters killed 103 people and injured 120 people.
Of those killed or injured last year, 63 people died during floods while 123 were injured; six were killed and 44 were injured in storms; 110 people were killed and 82 people were injured due to lightning, which claimed the lives of 80 people in 2017.
Mr Vy said yesterday that despite the rise in deaths and injuries, storms caused less damage last year compared to 2017.
“The conditions of big storms in 2018 did not lead to large-scale damages,” he said. “But in 2017, storms damaged 300 to 400 houses along coastal areas in Kampot and Preah Sihanouk provinces, and there was not much damage in those coastal areas in 2018.”
Mr Vy noted that floods from the Mekong river hit 23 provinces and the capital in 2018, affecting 134,893 families and leading to the evacuation of 12,668 families.
He added that 77,433 houses were flooded, while 241 houses, 35 schools, 140 pagodas and mosques, and 28 health centres were damaged.
Moreover, the floods also affected 114,768 hectares of rice fields, of which 28,753 were salvaged.
The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has warned that storms will be stronger this year.
“Please increase attention and vigilance to the phenomenon of thunder, lightning and storms that may occur, especially in April and May 2019,” it said in a recent statement.
Ministry spokesman Chan Youttha said that officials and authorities at all levels are ready to aid people affected by natural disasters, especially farmers in areas where there are shortages of water.
“The ministry has prepared measures to conserve other sources of water and meet with farmers to immediately intervene in the case of natural disasters,” he said.