The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) held the "29th National Disaster Risk Reduction Forum" on July 13 to gather additional input into its report about disaster prevention measures, while also announcing that it would buy equipment to protect against lightning strikes for use in some vulnerable areas.

The national forum held on July 13 discussed the current implementation progress for the Kingdom's "Sendai Framework".

Cambodia is a participant in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which was adopted at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015 in Sendai, Japan and defines the global goals of disaster risk reduction.

Senior Minister and NCDM first vice-president Kun Kim said that the Cambodian government is committed to a full implementation of the Sendai Framework.

He said that in relation to the Sendai Framework, Cambodia has set its main goals for disaster risk reduction through action plans for risk reduction for the years 2014-2023, 2019-2023 and its strategic plan for dealing with climate change.

"This forum aims to promote a culture of sharing knowledge, experiences and good practices in disaster risk reduction activities through point of view exchanges with each other and between relevant ministries, sub-national institutions, government units, development partners, national and international organizations and the private sector," he said.

He said that Cambodia strives to strengthen policies, strategies and investments to reduce disaster risk and the impacts of all kinds of disasters both now and in the future in order to increase security across the country.

He added that Cambodia is faced with natural disasters every year that destroy property and end lives, such as floods, storms, lightning, droughts, riverbank collapses and epidemics.

Among all of Cambodia's natural disasters, he said that lightning strikes are a consistent killer every year and that the toll in recent years was quite high. He wanted to raise the partner organizations’ awareness of the issue and encourage the provincial secretariat for disaster management to pay attention to this matter.

Senior Minister and NCDM first vice-president Kun Kim speaking at the "29th National Disaster Risk Reduction Forum" on July 13. NCDM

"I plan on requesting that the Ministry of Economic and Finance examine the possibility of solving the lightning problem, because this is the matter of people’s lives. Lightning strikes have killed many of our people and as I looked over the statistics through the years, there have been too many deaths.

“So, we need to think about which locations need help and the provincial secretariats must pay attention to their locations and make requests to partner organizations so that the state can install lightning rods to protect people," he said.

He spoke of lightning occurring frequently in some areas of Siem Reap province, but after the provincial governor purchased protective equipment for use there the number of strikes had decreased remarkably.

According to the NCDM’s report, in the first six months of 2022 there were 61 lightning strikes, which damaged 11 houses, killed 32 people, injured 26 and killed 69 cattle.

Ma Norith, deputy secretary-general of the NCDM, said that throughout the whole day of the forum there were various presentations made on topics like key achievements, presentations of search and rescue team representatives, outstanding women in disaster risk reduction, partner organizations presentations and sharing and updating the results of the work they had done.

"The NCDM still has a lot of work to do after receiving these inputs. We continue to work with relevant parties to verify and prepare these inputs in accordance with the guidelines of UN agencies in charge of disaster risk reduction," he added.

He also stressed that over the last five years the NCDM, ministries, government institutions, sub-national government, Cambodian Red Cross, all partner organizations and the private sector have implemented many projects and achieved numerous advances in Cambodia's disaster risk reduction efforts in response to its Sendai Framework commitments.