Some 58 houses belonging to soldiers in Preah Vihear province were damaged in a thunderstorm on Wednesday, with 10 of the properties completely destroyed, a provincial military commander told The Post on Thursday.
Deputy military commander in Choam Ksan district Khan Samen said the houses, located at Intervention Division III in Ramdoh Sre commune, had been donated to the soldiers’ families by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
While no one was injured in the incident, Samen said, other provinces have faced similar destruction from heavy rain, strong winds and lightning.
He said 10 homes completely collapsed in the storm, which happened at 5:20pm on Wednesday, while the other 48 suffered damage to their roofs, walls and staircases.
“Several officers came to help, but there was little they could do to prevent the destruction. We have often warned them about the impact of natural disasters and we’ve asked them to be extremely careful,” Samen said.
Choam Ksan district governor Chea Kimseng told The Post on Thursday that authorities are helping to rebuild the houses, with a particular focus on the destroyed homes, because the families have nowhere to stay.
“A local official told me that some of the soldiers’ houses were leaning over and others have partially collapsed. Some houses were completely blown away and some of their possessions were destroyed.
“I informed the provincial governor and then an order was made to rebuild the houses,” he said.
Separately, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, speaking at an event in Battambang province on Thursday, said some 500 houses in the province were damaged by storms between April 21 and 24.
He said nearly all districts had been affected, adding that Thma Koul district, where 372 houses were damaged, was the worst hit.
“I am very saddened by this disaster. But it is fortunate that so far only one person has been seriously hurt and only seven people have suffered mild injuries. It has passed now. The good thing is that no one died, even though people have lost their homes,” Sar Kheng said.
He called for local authorities, especially the armed forces, to look into ways to house the affected families, and to give priority to people whose homes had been completely destroyed.
“We must cooperate with the local authority and divide the area into zones. The local officials know the area. They know which houses are most badly damaged,” he said.
National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman Keo Vy told The Post on Thursday that there have been natural disasters in all provinces this year, except Tbong Khmum province.
He said there had been 99 incidents in which 447 houses were completely destroyed and another 2,718 homes had suffered some sort of damage, mostly to their roofs.
Vy said the roofs of 26 schools and 12 other buildings, including a rice milling factory, had also been damaged.
“The incidents caused one fatality and 20 people were injured, while lightning strikes have killed 14 people, including two women and three children,” he said, adding that 21 cows and buffalos have also been killed by lightning.