In the wake of extensive damage and loss of life due to natural disasters in the first six months of this year, the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) has issued a renewed plea for people to remain on high alert for strong winds and lightning.

Official records show that such calamities have already claimed over 50 lives and left more than 150 people injured during this period.

NCDM spokesperson Soth Kim Kolmony noted on July 25 that the occurrence of natural disasters has been on an upward trend this year compared to the same period in 2022.

He attributed the surge in natural disasters to early seasonal rains which brought with them thunderstorms and violent winds, causing extensive damage to properties.

“From January to June, forceful winds have resulted in the damage and collapse of over 1,700 houses,” said Kolmony.

“Nearly 11,000 homes suffered minor damage. Moreover, 78 schools, 22 commune halls, hospitals, pagodas, and administrative stations have reported roof damage,” he added.

The powerful winds have not only disrupted infrastructure but also severely impacted people’s lives.

“These winds have claimed six lives and injured another 120 individuals. April and May were especially marked by these devastating winds,” he added.

Additionally, Kolmony reported that the first six months of the year also witnessed lightning strikes in Phnom Penh and 20 provinces.

These strikes caused 46 fatalities and injured 39 individuals, in addition to damaging five homes and killing 79 cattle.

“In light of these events, I am reiterating the need for all Cambodian people to remain vigilant to mitigate the impacts of strong winds and lightning. In times of heavy rain and gusts, please seek safe shelter to avoid any potential dangers,” he emphasised.

Kolmony also asserted that it is incumbent upon the relevant authorities and police to monitor the situation continually.

The prevalence of high winds this year exceeded those of the previous year, accentuating the importance of seeking safe shelter during heavy rains.

The NCDM reiterated its call for citizens, authorities and stakeholders to remain vigilant in order to minimise their vulnerability to these natural factors.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology announced on July 25 that a prolonged low-pressure system will impact Cambodia from July 26 to August 1. This weather system is forecasted to travel through the upper Mekong River Basin via Thailand, Laos and central Vietnam, accompanied by a moderate southwest monsoon.

On the Pacific front, Category 5 storm Doksuri has intensified into Typhoon Doksuri, heading towards China between the Philippines and Taiwan. It is predicted to reach China on July 28.

The ministry highlighted that the aftermath of the storm could lead to moderate to high rainfall in the central lowlands. The northwestern provinces, however, might witness moderate rainfall and thunderstorms. In contrast, the highlands may receive a mix of light to heavy rain along with thunderstorms.

“The coastal area could witness moderate rain and thunderstorms. The sea surface is also expected to experience high winds and large waves,” the ministry cautioned.