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Two killed in severe weather

091104_04
One of the relatives of family members who died in a mass electrocution mourns Friday at a pagoda in Phnom Penh. AFP

AT LEAST two people died and three others were injured by a severe storm in the northeastern province of Mondulkiri on Monday, province officials said.

Keo Horn, first deputy governor of Mondulkiri, said heavy rains began falling on the province Sunday. When a storm swept in the following day, a tree fell on a house in Pech Chreada district, killing a mother and daughter and injuring three other villagers.

“The injured villagers have been sent to the provincial hospital for treatment,” Keo Horn said.

Mau Thonnerak, provincial secretary general of the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC), identified the victims as 39-year-old Chhun Sokon and 14-year-old Kean Nary. Their home was completely destroyed, and six others were damaged. Mau Thonnerak said the CRC had given 600,000 riels (US$150) to each family affected. “We are appealing to the villagers to be careful because the weather is still foggy,” he said.

Seth Vannareth, director of the Department of Meteorology, said the storm was not connected with Typhoon Mirinae and did not pose a threat to the rest of the Kingdom. “Cambodia was not affected by Typhoon Mirinae, which is already gone,” she said.

In a separate incident, a father and his four sons died on Friday after they were electrocuted in floodwaters in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district.

Mork Tina, 18, said her 65-year-old father, Mork En, opened a ground-floor window of his home, which served as a makeshift goods store.

But after touching the metal frame, he collapsed into the floodwaters outside. Mork Tina and her four brothers ran to pull him from the water, unaware of a downed power line under the surface.

“I was hit by an electric shock and lost consciousness. I woke in Calmette Hospital, but I almost died after a doctor told me that my father and brothers had died,” Mork Tina said.

Mork Phea, 30, Mork Livorn, 28, Mork Livin, 26, and Mork Livann, 22, all died along with their father.

The bodies were taken from Calmette Hospital to Oudravadie Pagoda for cremation in a traditional Khmer funeral ceremony paid for by the Russey Keo authorities.

Kliang Hout, governor of Russey Keo district, said he opened a lock in Svay Pak commune on Saturday to drain the floodwaters into the river.

“We feel very sorry that we could not save these five men from the electric shock,” he said, adding that “now the flood ... is subsiding because we opened the lock to release it into the river”.

People living in the flood zone, however, said the lock opening came far too late.

Siang Savoeun, a 27-year-old Russey Keo resident, said: “We called on the authorities to open the lock starting on October 20, but they said they would only open it after the Water Festival. Now they suddenly opened it, probably because they thought these deaths might cause them to lose their positions.”

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