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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lightning strikes cause 50 deaths so far this year: NCDM

Lightning strikes cause 50 deaths so far this year: NCDM

090505_04a.jpg
090505_04a.jpg

Disaster management committee says rate of deaths has climbed and instructs provinces to boost education efforts countrywide.

Photo by:

TRACEY SHELTON

Lightning strikes at night in Phnom Penh in this file photo. 

DEATHS from lightning have climbed this year with an estimated 50 people killed in the first four months, said an official at the National Committee for Disaster Management.

Ly Thuch, the committee's second deputy president, said 95 people were killed by lightning last year.

"The number of lightning strikes has risen compared to last year," he said, adding that it is important to advise people on how best to protect themselves during thunderstorms.

He said the provinces of Takeo, Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom, Banteay Meanchey and Pursat have reported the most deaths this year.

Sao Sereymony, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said his ministry had recently asked provincial officials countrywide to keep educating people on prevention by handing out brochures that advise how to avoid being struck by lightning.

"For example, we advise people not to shelter under trees in empty fields when it is raining or thundering," he said.

Seth Vannareth, director at the Department of Meteorology, said lightning strikes were up 10 percent this month.

She added that as there is no way to prevent lightning strikes people need to be told how to stay safe in storms.

Among other instructions, the ministry's brochure advises that people either leave a flooded zone or head for dry ground when they see thunderclouds above them, stay more than 4 metres distant from trees during thunderstorms, and refrain from carrying metal objects during a thunderstorm.

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