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NCDM: Deaths from natural disasters down 88% this year

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Thousands of families affected by flooding in Preah Sihanouk. Supplied

NCDM: Deaths from natural disasters down 88% this year

Deaths due to natural disasters in the first eight months of the year were down 88 per cent on the same period last year, data from the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) obtained by The Post on Monday showed.

Natural disasters killed 87 people and injured 168, while nearly 300 buildings, including homes, schools and public administrative offices, were damaged.

Some 190,000ha of rice and other cash crops were also affected.

NCDM spokesman Keo Vy told The Post that six people had died in storms, with 93 injured. Lightning had killed 77 people and injured 75, while flooding was responsible for the deaths of four people.

“The death toll due to the three weather phenomena was 87 – a decrease of 51, or around 88 per cent, compared to the same period last year, which saw 138 deaths,” Vy said.

Storms damaged 2,855 homes, with 1,557 having collapsed, while 135 public administrative buildings, including schools, suffering damage to their roofs.

Storms also destroyed 295ha of crops, including banana, cashew and rubber plantations, Vy said.

Eighty-six cows were killed by lightning.

Flooding affected 6,898 houses and 22 schools, with 962 families needing to be evacuated to higher ground.

Floods also affected 748ha of rice and other crops, while some roads had been badly damaged.

A prolonged drought had affected 184,049ha of rice in Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces, with 30,216ha destroyed, Vy said.

However, more than 150,000ha of rice fields threatened by the drought had been saved.

Teams from the ministries of Water Resources and Meteorology, and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries had irrigated rice fields, while timely scattered showers across the country had aided drought measures, Vy said.

Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology spokesman Chan Yutha told The Post that rain had been forecast across the country from Monday to mid-September.

The northeast highlands, in particular, are to experience medium to heavy rain due to low-pressure systems.

“Bailu”, the 12th tropical storm of the season, which made landfall in China on Sunday, would also likely affect Lower Mekong River Basin countries, possibly causing floods in Cambodia.

Yutha also urged people in low-lying areas along the Mekong River to harvest their crops and keep them safe, as well as be prepared to tackle flooding.

The Mekong River had started to rise, bringing an increased risk of flooding for the next two or three weeks, he said.

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