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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia better-equipped for lightning strikes

Cambodia better-equipped for lightning strikes

120705_03
A lightning rod on the roof of a new building at the Institude technology du Cambodge. Photograph: Hin Pisei/Phnom Penh Post

Lightning strikes kill Cambodian people and destroy public properties every year. Because of concerns over this, the use of lightning protection equipment is increasing gradually, particularly in Phnom Penh.

The National Committee for Disaster Management statistics said that in the first six months of 2012, there were 63 deaths from lightning across the country, 32 cattle were killed and 4 houses damaged. Ninety per cent of these were in rural areas.

Reth Chantha, the owner of DEG, which imports lightning protection equipment from Spain, said that when construction increases, the demand for such equipment also increases, even if it costs more.

He added that for the first six months of 2012, the demand for the equipment increased by some 30 to 40 per cent, compared to last year.

He says his company was the first to import such equipment into Cambodia, and his company has had more than 1,000 customers since 2008.

In 2009, when the construction and property sector in Cambodia was hit by the global financial crisis, the number of customers decreased.

However, in 2011, demand started to increase. Reth added that lightning can damage both buildings and the electronic equipment inside them.

He said “if lightning strikes people, it kills them, and if it strikes the building, the building will be damaged or the building’s life will be reduced.”

He added that in rural areas, many people were interested in the equipment but they can not afford it.

The price of the equipment depends on the building and land size. For between one and five hectares, the copper pole costs between $1,000-$2,000.

Nguon Kimhor, the owner of LPS, which also imports lightning rods, said that for this rainy season, the demand for the equipment increased 25 to 30 per cent, compared to last year.

He added that the equipment absorbs the lightning down the copper pole and passes it down to the land below. “Whether it is cheap or expensive, it can protect and save lives.”

Keo Ry, the cabinet chief of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said that the use of lightning rods on buildings is good because it protects the surrounding area from lightning.

Kea said that if rods are installed in rural areas, it reduces casualties, and the Royal Academy of Cambodia is preparing a leaflet about lightning protection for people in he country side to reduce this natural disaster.

To contact the reporter on this story: Seun Son at son.seun@phnompenhpost.com

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