Over 100 people have been killed, 250 injured and 10,000 homes damaged by strong winds, lightning and fires across Cambodia in the first nine months of the year, according to a report from the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).

NCDM spokesperson Soth Kim Kolmony highlighted that disasters this year increased compared to the same period last year, which recorded 68 deaths, 4,783 damaged houses and 84 killed cattle. This year’s toll reached 107 deaths, 15,156 damaged homes and 93 cattle deaths.

Kim Kolmony attributed the surge to natural phenomena, notably climate change, which is affecting the country with heightened intensity.

“The world is grappling with the repercussions of climate change, which in Cambodia’s context means increased thunderstorms and violent winds,” he stated, “Preparation for these disasters has become even more paramount. Not only the people, but expert institutions and all stakeholders must actively participate in mitigation efforts.”

Seven provinces – Pursat, Battambang, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, Banteay Meanchey and Kandal – experienced flooding. 30 towns and districts, covering 124 communes were impacted, affecting 28,687 families, damaging 15,393 homes and destroying 21,850ha of rice crops and 4,172ha of other crops.

Intervention forces had evacuated nearly 2,000 families from the worst-hit areas in Pursat, Battambang, Kampong Thom and Banteay Meanchey as of October 3.

Prime Minister Hun Manet lauded the combined efforts of leaders, the armed forces and local authorities.

“Please move to higher ground and ensure the safety of your family, especially children, from water and high-risk areas,” he told residents.

Interior Minister Sar Sokha directed administrations near rivers to exercise increased caution and frequently monitor the situation. His directive outlined the necessity of preparing high grounds and maintaining health standards for the displaced.

“Equip intervention forces and medical staff to ensure timely rescues,” he stated.

Sokha’s provisions also included transportation means such as boats, motorboats, inflatable boats and supplies like sandbags, medicine and dried food. He emphasised that the national police must be ready with life-saving equipment.