According to the National Committee for Disaster Management, 140 people were killed by lightning in 2009, up more than 50 percent from the 95 people who died in 2008.
“The increase of lightning is caused by a rise in the earth’s temperature and the loss of covering such as forests”, said Thao Sokunthia, an environmental lecturer at Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP).
According to an expert from the Department of Water Resource and Meteorology, there are several ways to protect from lightning when it is raining, such as turning off radios, televisions and phones, and staying indoors when it rains.
People have also been advised that during storms, they should not sit under trees but stay at least 4 metres from tree trunks, and avoid driving their motorbikes or bicycles when lightning strikes begin.
Those compelled to drive their cars are advised to pull to the side of the road and sit still, avoiding any contact with the steering wheel or doors.
Thao Sokunthia said that to minimize the threat of lightning, trees have to be replanted around villages and bodies of water such as lakes and ponds must be maintained.