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PM urges caution after storm deaths

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Storms and lightning killed two people and destroyed more than 100 houses, schools and pagodas throughout Banteay Meanchey province on Sunday. Supplied

PM urges caution after storm deaths

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday called on people to remain careful as storms and lightning killed two people and destroyed more than 100 houses, schools and pagodas throughout Banteay Meanchey province on Sunday.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Stung Bot international border checkpoint and a road connecting to National Road 5 in Poipet town on Monday, Hun Sen also ordered Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan to deploy the Kingdom’s armed forces – including soldiers, police and Military Police – to help victims of natural disasters.

“Last night, two people were killed by heavy rain and storms. Also yesterday [on Monday], 156 houses were levelled across the province.

“And since Khmer New Year, 593 houses, three schools, two monasteries and some other places have suffered damage. I would like to offer my condolences to the families of the deceased.”

Two people were killed and one injured when lightning struck at Chhouk village in O’Chrov district’s Changha commune on Sunday. In Soeng commune alone, 23 houses were damaged by a storm, according to the Facebook page of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology on Monday.

Throughout the province’s seven districts, 222 houses were damaged by storms, according to the National Police website.

Banteay Meanchey deputy provincial governor Oum Reatrey told The Post on Monday the provincial administration has introduced preventative measures to all municipalities, districts, communes and villages throughout the province, and has also raised public awareness of the dangers of storms.

‘Help in a timely manner’

He said provincial authorities have deployed armed forces and youth groups to help victims with relocation and reconstruction of damaged houses.

“Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan has provided zinc sheets for us regularly. He offered between 2,000 and 3,000 sheets of zincs at a time. In conjunction with authorities at all levels, we have managed to help people who suffered from storms in a timely manner,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology’s weather forecast on Monday, temperatures in the Kingdom could reach 41 degrees Celsius between April 22 and 30.

Forecasting weaker rains but more frequent lightning and storms, the ministry called on people to be careful of the weather and pay attention to their welfare amid the intense heat.

Reatrey said local authorities have told people to prepare drinking water and maintain good hygiene to prevent health problems amid the heat wave.

Keo Vy, spokesman of the National Committee for Disaster Management, told The Post that so far this year, there have been a total of 83 cases of destructive storms and lightning across 23 provinces, with Kampot and Tbong Khmum provinces the only exceptions.

Of the 83 cases, 389 houses were destroyed, while 1,902 other homes sustained moderate damage. Storms also wiped off the roofs of 20 schools and other agricultural warehouses and rice mills.

Sixty hectares of banana plantations, 413 durian trees and 2,700 other tropical fruit trees were also damaged. In coastal areas, 95 stalls along the seashore were damaged.

Vy said lightning has claimed 12 lives, including three children, and injured 17 people so far this year. Sixteen head of cattle were also killed.

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