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Create special secretariats for disaster management, says PM

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A six-storey building in Kep province collapsed on January 3, killing 36 and injuring 23. Heng Chivoan

Create special secretariats for disaster management, says PM

Following the collapse of two buildings some seven months apart, Prime Minister Hun Sen has reminded all government institutions of their obligation to create special secretariats for disaster management.

In a circular issued on Tuesday, the prime minister noted that only some government bodies had created secretariats for disaster management. He instructed all other institutions to follow suit.

He said the secretariat is “a mechanism to manage disasters in the ministries and institutions,” noting that each one is headed by a secretary that liaises with members of the National Committee for Disaster Management when disaster strikes.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Hun Sen discussed recent disasters in Cambodia and the reaction of other countries.

Referring to the collapse of buildings in June in Sihanoukville and in Kep this month, Hun Sen said other countries have been quick to blame the government but said many of these countries have had building collapses of their own.

“Our government has been unfairly criticised for the recent collapse of two buildings. But, is this fair? Our response has been adequate. We are working to remove those responsible.”

Kun Kim, the Senior Minister in charge of special missions and deputy president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, acknowledged that Cambodia has to strengthen its response mechanism.

Speaking to The Post yesterday, Kim said Tuesday’s circular represents a new effort to implement existing regulation that will improve the Kingdom’s emergency response, particularly in the face of floods, droughts and building collapses.

“The National Committee for Disaster Management has faced challenges responding to disasters because the law was not being implemented. Because of this circular, communication between ministries and institutions during disasters will improve.”

Kim noted that the National Committee for Disaster Management plans to request the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to train 1,000 soldiers in emergency response and rescue operations.

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