Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom at high risk of natural disasters

Kingdom at high risk of natural disasters

A woman takes refuge on the roof of her house after flood waters inundated her property in Battambang during the 2013 wet season.
A woman takes refuge on the roof of her house after flood waters inundated her property in Battambang during the 2013 wet season. Vireak Mai

Kingdom at high risk of natural disasters

A report released on Monday by the United Nations and the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) shows that Cambodia’s population is among the world’s 10 most affected by natural disasters.

Published on Monday, The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters considers 20 years of data going back to 1995, and finds that “weather-related disasters are becoming increasingly frequent, due largely to a sustained rise in the numbers of floods and storms”, in line with the scientifically predicted consequences of increasing global temperatures.

Underscoring the need for an international climate change agreement at the upcoming UN climate talks in Paris (COP 21), the report emphasises the human cost of weather-related natural disasters, which for the Kingdom is the seventh-highest in the world per capita. For every 100,000 Cambodians, an average of 8,400 are affected by disasters every year.

So while countries like China suffer a higher cost in sheer numbers, when figures are adjusted relative to the population, Cambodia is actually on par with the People’s Republic.

Keo Vy, spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), speaking via phone yesterday noted several events that likely influenced the statistics.

“The report is right that our country got affected by natural disasters, but mostly floods and storms. During 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2001 we [were] faced with bad drought, and in the past two years, we see that Cambodia is most affected by drought,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a global report published by UNICEF titled Unless We Act Now, says children, especially those in poor, disaster-prone areas, will “bear the brunt” of climate change in several ways, including weather disasters.

Speaking yesterday, UNICEF country director Debora Comini illustrated what this means for Cambodia.

“For example, with flooding, poor families that live on river banks or lake banks and have a higher number of children are most affected,” she said.

“Children from communities that are affected by natural disasters are more vulnerable to other problems that affect their development,” Comini added. These problems, according to the report, include disease, trafficking and interrupted education, among others.

Keo Vy agreed that children are most at risk for droughts and floods and pointed to increased risk of disease following disaster, adding that “children are the priority when affected by natural disasters”.

Additional reporting by Mom Kunthear

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • Kingdom set to be a gold producer

    Cambodia will soon join the roster of gold producing countries after the government announced the commencement of commercial gold mining operations in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province's Keo Seima district from June 21. Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 10 announced that after 14 years of