Overview of 2016 Natural Disasters

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A family tries to move their belongings to higher ground. KT/Chor Sokunthea

More than 130 people died and nearly 300 were injured in accidents caused by natural disasters across the country this year, according to a government official.
 
Keo Vy, the cabinet chief and a spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management, told Khmer Times yesterday that three types of natural disasters happened in the country in 2016, including storms and lightning, drought and floods.
 
He said 279 accidents had been caused by storms resulting in 21 deaths and 193 injuries. Of the fatalities, home collapses killed nine, falling trees killed three and sinking boats killed nine.
 
“Storms completely destroyed 1,997 people’s homes and opened the roofs of 8,147 others,” Mr. Vy said.
 
“There were 41 school buildings damaged and 43 other buildings – such as administrative buildings and pagodas – were damaged as well.”
He added that lightning killed 108 people, injured 105, damaged nine houses and killed 80 head of cattle.
 
Mr. Vy confirmed that this year’s drought was worse than previous years because most provinces across the country suffered water shortages.
 
This happened in the first half of the year as the country was affected by the El Nino weather phenomenon. It affected approximately 600,000 families who were lacking clean water.
 
Through the government’s nationwide campaign to distribute water, authorities and relevant ministries distributed clean water to 331,505 families. The Cambodian Red Cross and generous members of society also participated.
 
In addition, the country has seen 965 new wells dug, 684 old wells restored, 240 new ponds dug as well as 125 old ponds and 18 canals restored this year, according to Mr. Vy.
 
In the middle of this year’s rainy season, rain fell at below normal levels, which affected rice fields in 14 provinces.
 
Those provinces included Battambang, Siem Reap, Takeo, Pursat, Kampong Speu, Oddar Meanchey, Kampong Chhnang, Kandal, Svay Rieng, Kampong Cham, Kampot, Pailin and Tbong Khmum.
 
The drought also affected people’s rice crops and thousands of hectares of paddy rice.
 
From July until November, the country saw heavy rain that caused flooding in 16 provinces.
 
“Floods affected 9,546 people’s homes, three of which were badly damaged. There were 413 families evacuated to safe places,” Mr. Vy said.
 
He added that three children died in the floods in Kampot and Kandal provinces and thousands of hectares of paddy rice as well as infrastructure were damaged.
 
Mr. Vy said that storms and lightning this year were on par with what the country experienced in 2015, but the drought and flooding were worse.

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