A powerful storm lashed Siem Reap province Friday night, leveling hundreds of houses across eight villages and killing four people, according to the authorities.
Kompong Klaing commune, which is located in Sotr Nikom district on the banks of the Tonle Sap lake, was the hardest hit by the high winds and heavy rains.
“The storm started as soon as the sky turned black at 8 o’clock,” said Rin Mon, district deputy police chief, on Sunday. “We had no way of helping people.”
The 1,000-family commune suffered four deaths and the destruction of 108 wooden houses, Rin Mon said.
In Prek Srormoach village, authorities estimate that 80 houses were damaged or destroyed.
“The houses collapsed in water,” Rin Mon said. “Some can be renovated, but some cannot.”
Villagers left homeless are staying with relatives or sheltering in a nearby pagoda, he said.
Sim Son, Siem Reap governor, said he has sent armed forces to work with local police to assist the victims of the storm.
“People are very tired after the storm. We will continue to help them,” he said.
The Cambodian Red Cross and the National Committee for Disaster Management are also involved in the assistance efforts, Sim Son said.
Sam An, director of the Cambodian Red Cross’ Siem Reap branch, said that roughly 125 families lost their homes and have found emergency accommodation.
“Today [the] Red Cross branch will bring household kits to the families, including mosquito nets and blankets,” he said. “This is a big operation.”
Rin Mon said that he could not offer a financial estimate of the damage the storm left in its wake.
“We have never encountered such a storm,” he added.
Nhim Vanda, president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said that the drought of a few weeks ago has been replaced by flooding and heavy rains that are now threatening villagers, livestock and crops.
(Additional reporting by Lasse Karner)