More mosquitoes than usual are buzzing around Phnom Penh, residents and officials said Thursday, but the reasons behind the appearance of the recent swarms are subject to some debate.
Dr Duong Socheat, director of the National Malaria Center, said his office has noticed an increase in mosquitoes flying around the capital and is gearing up for an eradication campaign, which typically happens at the start of the rainy season in April or May.
“It seems there are more mosquitoes this time of year when compared to last,” he said Thursday. “We will carry out the campaign after we have all of the staff we need.”
Duong Socheat fingered the city’s current renovations on the sewer system as the cause behind the uptick, with the open sewers allowing mosquitoes to breed.
However, Municipal Deputy Governor Pa Socheatvong said the mosquitoes are coming from existing standing water and bad hy-giene, not from the construction.
“We will renovate as long as we live to improve infrastructure,” he said adding that the health department is taking action to rid Phnom Penh of the blood-sucking insects.
Director of the municipal health department Veng Thay said the current batch of insects does not spread diseases such as malaria and dengue. Nevertheless, he is writing up an estimated budget for a spraying operation he hopes to carry out in the coming weeks around the city.
“We will take some measures, and we plan to spray,” he said.
Sewing brightly colored fabric, tailor Kim Hong said she has noticed more mosquitoes buzzing around her small shop in Daun Penh district.
In the past, she said, she never needed a mosquito net while she was sleeping. Now, she uses one at night and occasionally during the day.
“I heard many people complain about the mosquitoes,” the 32-year-old said while stitching together some cloth. “I’m scared it might bring some kind of disease.”