Public advised to safeguard health as temperatures drop

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A vendor sells sweaters at a market in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine on January 13 called on the public and members of the armed forces to pay close attention to their health as colder weather sweeps across the region.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology announced that from January 13 to 19, temperatures will drop dramatically to between 11 to 14 degrees Celsius in provinces bordering the Dangrek mountain range and northeastern highlands.

Temperatures in the central lowland provinces will be between 13 to 16C while coastal provinces would see temperatures of 19 to 22C.

Vandine told The Post that cold weather could cause flu, sore throat, respiratory infections or heart attacks which could lead to death. It could also lead to dehydration so people should drink plenty of warm water while avoiding fatty and sugary foods as well as going outside at night.

In order to mitigate dangers posed by cold weather, people should wear sufficient clothing and maintain good hygienic practices, she said.

“We are currently fighting against Covid-19, so if any of our people get the flu or other respiratory illnesses due to the cold weather, it will compound our worries. We are especially concerned about the elderly and young children who are more easily susceptible to diseases,” Vandine said.

Cold weather would not be an obstacle for members of the nation’s armed forces who continue to guard the borders while rangers’ patrols prevent crimes in wildlife sanctuaries, according to Buon Seng Sopiseth, commander of Border Protection Unit No 623 in Ratanakkiri province.

“Three or four nights ago, in the Kantuy Neak [dragon’s tail] area, the cold weather dropped temperatures below 11 degrees Celsius, but our border police remain unfazed. We still patrol the forests along our border to prevent or respond to any crimes,” he said.

Sopiseth said his units have received enough winter coats and support equipment for their patrols since the beginning of December last year, and consequently, members of his command were not concerned about the weather.

Similarly, Khang Soeung, a ranger in Roka Thmey office of the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary located in Pou Hyam village of O’Raing district’s Sen Monorom commune in Mondulkiri province, told The Post that the weather was not an issue for rangers whose duty it is to protect the forest and wildlife.

“Cold weather is no sort of excuse to become lazy or neglect our patrols of the forest and allow crimes to be committed,” he said.

Soeung said that on the night of January 11, temperatures around the Roka Thmey office dropped to 14C, and so standby rangers lit fires to stay warm. But in the day time, temperatures rose to 22C.

He said that there had not been any recent crime in the sanctuary because rangers had intensified efforts, patrolling around the clock. He also credited participation from the community and local authorities.