Prime Minister Hun Sen called on local authorities and youth to pay close attention to the health of their parents, grandparents and elderly members of their communities, as the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology announced the need for vigilance during an upcoming cold snap.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony for more than 6,000 students from the Royal University of Law and Economics, Hun Sen said that keeping the elderly warm and safe is important amid this natural phenomenon.

“Children and grandchildren need to take care of their parents and grandparents as the weather begins to cool. In some areas, it could drop to 17 or 18 degrees Celsius,” he said.

He warned that people should be especially wary of colds and flus, as the immune systems of the elderly are less able to fight off infection than those of the young. He offered the support of the authorities, saying that despite heavy workloads, officials would find time to help.

“The government and local authorities are not indifferent to the people’s wellbeing. We recently took action to alleviate the suffering of flood victims and will step in to do the same during the cold spell, when necessary,” he said.

Next week, Cambodia will be affected by a high pressure system from China. When combined with strong north easterlies, temperatures will begin to fall, said the ministry’s November 1 statement.

It said the central lowlands would experience lows of 21-23C and highs of 31-33C with light rains. In highland areas, the minimum temperature will be 20-22C, with maximums of 30-32C but no rain.

“From November 2-4, the weather will be very cool in the mornings in Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri, Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey, with temperatures dropping as low as 17-18C,” the ministry added.

The coastal regions are expected to experience lows of 21-23C during the same period.

National Police chief Neth Savoeun said Prime Minister Hun Sen has donated nearly 6,000 winter coats to the border guard force, who worked closely with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) to defend territorial integrity and national sovereignty along the border.

The Ministry of Health has advised people to protect their health during the cold spell by wearing thick coats, scarves, hats and gloves to keep themselves warm.

“Infants, children and the elderly are at higher risk of catching cold-related illnesses. Infants lose body temperature more quickly than adults, and they are unable to regulate their temperatures as well,” it said.

The ministry warned that the elderly are also at risk as they often have lower temperatures due to slower metabolisms and decreased physical activity.

“This can be life-threatening, especially to those with pre-existing conditions like diabetes or heart disease,” it said.