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Deaths from natural disasters fall due to improved precautions

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A lightning bolt strikes behind Phnom Penh’s high-rise building during a storm in May. 2019. Hong Menea

Deaths from natural disasters fall due to improved precautions

In the first 10 months of this year, 131 people were killed and 115,957 families lost their crops and homes due to floods, storms and lightning strikes.

Although this year’s disasters still posed dangers and caused damage, the death toll dropped when compared to the same period last year when 215 people lost their lives, said National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) spokesman Keo Vy.

On Tuesday, he said: “Floods have occured every year and in previous years, they affected many people. But now the impact of floods is smaller as people are more aware of precautionary measures.”

Vy said 30 people died in floods, eight from storms and 93 from lightning strikes, while 81 were injured in total.

During the same period last year, storms killed six people, floods claimed 63 lives and lightning strikes resulted in 109 deaths.

The NCDM has lined up backup plans to combat natural disasters in each province in terms of social services, healthcare, and supplies of food and rice seeds to help victims.

The committee delivered over 1,000 tonnes of rice seeds to flood victims in Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum, Kratie, Kampong Thom and Preah Vihear provinces and others affected by droughts in Pursat, Siem Reap, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces.

Vy said floods affected over 90,000ha of rice fields and damaged another 14,000ha.

The Coalition of Cambodia Farmers Community (CCFC) president Theng Savoeun said relevant authorities should speed up the disaster alert mechanism in vulnerable provinces for residents to take precautions like moving to safer places.

“I want the government to create a system that informs people earlier because an alert is very important to ensure residents react quickly before disaster strikes.”

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