Heat Wave Breaks as Cambodian ‘Winter’ Sets In

The heat and rain of Cambodia’s wet season gave way this week to cool breezes, signaling an early start to the dry season’s cooler temperatures, officials said.

Temperatures throughout the country began to drop Monday, dip­ping to 17 degrees Celsius in Preah Vihear province in the north and 18 degrees in Mon­dolkiri and Ratanakkiri in the northeast as well as Battambang in the northwest, according to Seth Vannareth, director of meteorology at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology.

While temperatures in Cam­bodia typically drop between No­vember and January, this year’s cool weather has begun earlier than last year’s, she said.

“If we compare last year and this year, this year is an early drop in temperature,” Seth Van­nareth said Thursday by phone. “This year the cool weather be­gan since early November, but last [year] it started to get cool in December and also for [only] a short time,” she said.

While other provinces have reached minimum temperatures of 19 or 20 degrees, most of Cam­bo­dia is still reaching highs of 27 and 29 degrees during the day, said Seth Vannareth, adding, however, that temperatures in Preah Vihear province will continue to drop.

Mean Sam On, malaria project chief in Preah Vihear province, said people have begun wearing thick clothes because of the nighttime cold.

“Our villagers at the hill of Preah Vihear temple are colder than us here in the town,” he said Thursday by telephone, adding that the nighttime winds have been strong.

Phnom Penh has turned relatively chilly at night too with temperatures sinking to 20 degrees be­tween 7 pm and 7 am, Seth Vannareth said.

A group of 11 street children huddled along the riverfront in Phnom Penh said they took a sheet found in the trash at Wat Ounalom to cover their legs at night.

Yun Vanna, 14, who has been living on the street for a year, said he lost the money he earned from begging when he fell asleep from the cold Wednesday night.

“The cold tonight was very cold and makes me sleepy a little bit, and I am missing my money that I earned from begging yesterday at the festival,” he said.

NGO Friends-International provides street children with clothing and medical care and encourages them to stay in centers when the weather turns cold, said communications officer Suong Soksophea.

Street children are affected by cold weather “when the monsoons start blowing from the north during Water Festival,” she said by phone Thursday. “It’s our little winter.”

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