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People help to clean up the remains of a Siem Reap house late last week after it was blown over during severe winds. National Police
People help to clean up the remains of a Siem Reap house late last week after it was blown over during severe winds. National Police

Ministry issues storm notice

Heavy storms are likely to hit Cambodia between May 17 and May 25, bringing with them strong winds, rains and lightning strikes, particularly in the Kingdom’s western and northern provinces, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology announced yesterday.

While drought-stricken areas desperately need rain, the ministry, along with Prime Minister Hun Sen, warned that the coming storms might leave some people homeless or injured from falling trees.

“Authorities, please help people with repairs and make sure they have a shelter in which to stay, such as schools,” Hun Sen posted in a Facebook statement yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Apsara Authority stated on Friday that a strong storm hit the Angkor Archaeological Park, felling large trees.

“The people are very happy [about the rain], but they are also panicking, because when it rains the storms damage their houses,” said Chorm Chern, the chief of Teuk Vil commune in Siem Reap.

Experts have largely blamed Cambodia’s drought on a strong El Niño cycle, a recurring warm water pattern that reduces precipitation in Southeast Asia.

El Niño is usually followed by La Niña, a cool water pattern that can increase rainfall, according to the Asian Disaster Reduction Center, which has warned in the past that La Niña, combined with urban migration and environmental degradation, could result in “worsening and more frequent damaging floods in Cambodia”.

Recent climate models from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed that El Niño might be replaced by La Niña very soon. In a statement on May 9, NOAA cited “an increasing chance of La Niña during the second half of the year”.

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