At least 37 people were killed and 128 others injured, while over 1,000 homes collapsed and the roofs of more than 9,700 homes were damaged by natural disasters from January 1 to May 28 of this year, according to the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).

Its spokesman Soth Kimkolmony said on May 29 that strong winds and frequent lightning strikes have been a common occurrence since the start of the rainy season.

Since the beginning of this year until May 28, strong winds have been recorded 155 times, resulting in the collapse of 1,164 homes, damage to the roofs of 9,715 homes and 67 school buildings. The strong winds also affected administration buildings, claiming six lives and injuring 99 others.

“The increasing frequency of strong wind cases, almost daily during the rainy season, is a concern. It is crucial for the authorities and the public to closely monitor this situation to minimise the impact and risk to lives,” Kimkolmony advised.

Kimkolmony also emphasised the threat posed by lightning strikes. By May 28, there had been 60 cases, resulting in 31 fatalities, 19 injuries and the deaths of 59 cattle.

The NCDM called on the local authorities and the general public to be vigilant and take measures to keep casualties to a minimum.

“The authorities must install lightning protection systems in areas prone to strikes, and all stakeholders, especially the public, need to be educated about lightning to minimise its impact,” Kimkolmony stressed.

According to a report from Prasat Bakong district police in Siem Reap province, on May 27, three houses collapsed and three people were injured in Kantraing commune’s Sophy village, due to rain mixed with strong winds.

The previous day, two young men lost their lives to lightning strikes in the district while searching for frogs at night during heavy rain and strong winds.

In neighbouring Banteay Meanchey province, O’Chrou district govenor Keo Dara Raksmey reported that strong winds also damaged 32 homes in two communes – Changha and Soeng – on May 26. The gales affected 28 homes in Changha, and caused damage to eight homes and the collapse of two political party billboards in Soeng.