At least 14 people were killed and another 91 injured due to natural disasters in the first four months of the year, according to the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).

NCDM spokesman Soth Kim Kolmony told The Post on May 4 that apart from the casualties, natural disasters also damaged 8,448 homes, school buildings, shops and public administration buildings. In addition, 16 heads of cattle were killed and extensive damage was done to crops.

“In the first four months of this year, strong winds killed six people and injured 87, while damaging 7,328 homes and completely destroying a further 1,011. In addition, storms damaged the roofs of 55 schools, 14 public administrative buildings and 40 market stalls,” he said.

“In the same period, lightning strikes killed eight people and injured four others,” he added.

He explained that climate change appeared to be responsible for an increase in storms, and that the majority had occurred in April.

“The most affected province was Kratie, followed by Siem Reap, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Preah Sihanouk and Kampot,” he said.

According to a long-term weather forecast by the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, at the beginning of the rainy season, mixed rains, strong winds and thunderstorms will occur in the lowlands. Meanwhile, droughts are also likely to occur in June. It is possible that the droughts will be prolonged until mid-July.

Kim Kolmony called on the relevant institutions and local authorities to be prepared to assist farmers with water pumps, fuel and other equipment, especially in areas that are drought-prone.

“At the same time, farmers must be careful and use water sparingly. If their farmland is at altitude, or far from a reliable water source, they should not begin planting rice in the early part of the rainy season,” he added.