Heavy Winds Flatten Homes in Siem Reap

Heavy winds damaged or des-troyed more than 400 houses in Siem Reap province’s Puok district Friday and left 23 residents injured, officials said.

The evening winds, picking up speed at about 5 pm, blew 122 homes to the ground and damaged another 344 by ripping off roofs or buffeting the structures to one side, District Governor Pich Sokhaley said Sunday by telephone.

In all, houses in 30 different villages across Puok, Lvea and Don-keo communes were affected by the weather, which included high winds, rain and lightning. Pich Sokhaley said the storm damaged the roofs of two school buildings.

“If the storm happened when the students were at school it probably would have caused many students to get hurt,” he said.

He said that 10 of the 23 injured villagers sustained serious wounds from being hit by falling structures or objects flying through the air.

Those who suffered fractured hands, legs or skulls were taken to the Siem Reap Provincial Referral Hospital.

Pich Sokhaley said storms are frequent in his district, but that the one Friday night was particularly strong and fast-moving.

“This storm was very dangerous and very strong. In just 20 minutes, it damaged hundreds of houses,” he said.

Siem Reap Provincial Governor Sou Phirin said lawmakers and deputy governors brought donations from the Red Cross and other government officials to the 122 households hit hardest. Families affected by the weather received several items including food, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, blankets and $25.

Aid bound for the rest of the victims should arrive by Wednesday, he said.

Plans were also in the works to fix the damaged roofs at the two schools, Sou Phirin added.

Seth Vannareth, director of meteorology at the Ministry of Water Resources, said the weather was not technically a storm but a low-pressure system that moved in from the northeast.

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