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‘Large-scale’ disaster rescue drill to be held

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Ministry of National Defence spokesman Chum Socheat said Cambodia will hold an evacuation drill with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Photo supplied

‘Large-scale’ disaster rescue drill to be held

Cambodia will conduct a “large-scale” emergency evacuation drill with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam “in near future”, Ministry of National Defence spokesman Chum Socheat told The Post on Tuesday.

Without specifying the number of soldiers that will be involved in the exercise, Socheat said the drill will not be used as a joint military combat exercise. “It is purely in preparation for a humanitarian mission,” he said.

While he was unable to confirm a specific timeframe for when the drill would be held, Socheat said the training commander would draw up a proposal and submit it to the ministry.

“The minister would then review the budget breakdown and verify other paperwork,” he added, noting that most expenses would be allocated to “gasoline and vehicles”.

National press agency Agence Kampuchea Press (AKP) recently cited Moeung Samphan, the Ministry of Defence secretary of state, saying the drill would be held near the Vietnamese border in Svay Rieng province.

“It will be arranged at the end of the year in [such] a scale that we have never witnessed before,” he said.

Samphan continued that the drill would simulate accidents such as a shipwreck, plane crash and building collapse, as well as natural disasters “which could happen at any second, due to their unpredictable nature”.

“All of the ministry’s units are prepared to participate in the exercise. They are equipped with the necessary tools to rescue people when a disaster strikes at any time,” Sampan was quoted as saying.

He also urged the forces to be more proactive in terms of rescue efforts during disasters.

In a related development, the Ministry of Health on Tuesday warned the public of the changes in weather pattern which might cause storms and a heatwave that could result in drought, floods and diseases.

The ministry said in its directive that natural disasters could damage infrastructure and properties, as well as injure or kill people.

“In case of a flood, people should not seek shelter in old houses or dilapidated buildings because they can collapse at any time. Also, refrain from touching electronics with wet hands or when standing in water.

“When travelling on a boat at night, it must have light to show the way. “[Moreover], people must sleep inside a mosquito net to prevent dengue fever, malaria, and other diseases,” the statement read.

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