In the first five months of the year, natural disasters caused by strong winds and lightning were just half of the amount recorded in the same period in 2021, according to a new report on the effects of climate change, released on June 1 by the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).

The report said weather conditions were better than last year due to the fact that Cambodia experienced milder temperatures than 2021. The Kingdom also had heavier rainfall during this year’s dry season, which reduced water shortages, both for consumption and agriculture. There were also less severe storms, so fewer crops were damaged.

From January to May, there were 79 recorded heavy storms, which collapsed 527 homes and tore the roofs off an additional 1,777. Two people were killed and 16 injured.

Lightning strikes killed 22 people and injured 17 others, and also killed a total of 53 cattle.

“Overall, the impact of strong winds and lightning strikes in the first five months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 has decreased by about half. The NCDM has also increased its outreach programmes and expanded disaster prevention measures,” the report said.

NCDM spokesman Soth Kim Kolmony told The Post that strong winds and lightning strikes occur every year, and require constant vigilance, especially during the rainy season. Flash floods had also had a mild effect on some provinces – along the rivers, in the foothills and on the plateau – since the end of April, with rainfall generally ranging from medium to moderate.

He explained that if weather conditions in the region change and cause heavy rainfall in the Mekong River basin, the river itself may rise. Currently, according to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, it had reached a height of 9.65m at the Bassac-Chaktomuk Hydrological Station. The precautionary level is significantly higher, at 10.5m.

“From now on, however, we should all be mindful of potential flooding and the level of the Mekong. We should listen to weather forecasts regularly. Some provinces have experienced floods even when water levels were mild,” he said.