The Ministry of Health yesterday advised municipal and provincial governors to strengthen their emergency preparedness and response capabilities ahead of natural disasters.
In a letter signed by Health Minister Mam Bun Heng on Tuesday, he said climate change has triggered irregular shifts in seasons, heavy rainfall and other phenomena, such as heatwaves, thunderstorms, droughts and deluge. Such occurrences, he said, pose hazards on the people and properties.
“To minimise the impact of such disasters, especially thunderstorms and floods which may be frequent during this period, I ask all municipal and provincial governors to advise the directors of their respective Health Departments to pay close attention in strengthening healthcare preparedness to ensure swift response in case of an emergency,” he said.
Such measures include the organisation of a rescue team which can attend to people in affected areas; preparation of medicines and necessary equipment and vehicles; and the continued collaboration with local authorities and relevant organisations.
Bun Heng also called for the constant monitoring of environmental changes, which in turn must be disseminated to authorities and the public. A comprehensive record of natural disasters, casualties and damages must also be kept to ensure an effective response from the ministry.
Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang said the provincial administration task force and the provincial Red Cross organisation have always been well-equipped with medical supplies and other essentials, such as food, allowing both to jointly help people affected by natural disasters.
“We already have forces on standby, as well as prepared rescue equipment, to assist victims. However, it is good that the Ministry of Health has provided additional instructions to remind relevant authorities about the impacts of natural disasters and how these can be mitigated,” he said.
National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman Khun Sokha said yesterday that during the first half of this year, at least 100 people were killed or injured by thunderstorms across the country while more than 2,500 properties were damaged.
“The water level in the Mekong River is expected to rise between August and October,” he said. “So, the public should be vigilant, especially those in the provinces. They should be aware of the dangers of thunderstorms and flooding and must keep track of weather forecasts from the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology.”