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Tropical storm damage assessed

At least 45 homes in three provinces were destroyed by tropical storm Nock-ten late last week, but officials warned yesterday that the tally could climb.

The storm, which killed 52 people in the Philippines, hit coastal Cambodia on the weekend and the National Committee for Disaster Management is still assessing the damage.

“We are still visiting the areas most impacted and helping victims. We have not yet gathered all the information and cannot provide a final figure for the total damage,” said Keo Vy, director of information and communications at the NCDM. He said the tropical storm caused flooding and destroyed homes in four provinces. In Kep it destroyed six homes and tore the roofs off 16 others. Three homes were also destroyed in Kampot, while flooding hit Preah Sihanouk, making sections of Highway Four, which connect the province to Phnom Penh, impassable.

Flooding also hampered road travel in the northeastern province of Stung Treng, and in Prey Veng high winds destroyed 17 homes.

Mao Hak, director of Cambodia’s department of meteorology, said downpours from the tropical storm caused the level of the Mekong to rise over the weekend, but added that it had subsided quickly. Rises in river levels were detected near Phnom Penh and in Stung Treng and Kratie provinces.

Mao Hak said this was consistent with forecasts from his department. “There was no flooding from the downpours, but people must remain cautious. We have released an announcement to people in affected areas to remain alert,” he said.

Kampot governor Khoy Khun Hour said that homes were destroyed but no one was killed or injured. He urged fishermen to be cautious and to consult forecasts before going out to sea.

The NCDM also reported yesterday that the number of people killed in lightning strikes continued to soar. In the first seven months of this year, 120 people were killed by lightning and 11 more were critically injured, it said. For all of last year, 114 people were killed by lightning, 58 more were injured and 65 cattle were killed, according to the NCDM.    Keo Vy called for more public education about natural disasters in order to promote safety.

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