The body of a man suspected to have died from cold weather in Ratanakkiri province’s Banlung town was cremated yesterday.
According to Banlung district police chief Yin Bonna, the man, who was homeless and suspected of being mentally ill, was known locally only as “Mr Popular”, a name bestowed on him by the chief abbot of Phnom Svay pagoda, where he had been living for about two years.
“He looked like a man with an illness, and it was as cold as 13 degrees. It was that combination that caused him to die. We asked the pagoda to cremate him, because he did not have any relatives,” he explained.
Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator with the rights group Adhoc, said the incident was the second death blamed on cold in Ratanakkiri in recent years. The first case also concerned a homeless man, who died in January of 2012 as he slept in a hammock near the gate of the Department of Tourism.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology issued an alert warning people of a cold snap starting on Wednesday and ending today. Temperatures in Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri and Pailin were expected to fall as low as 14 degrees Celsius.