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Hun Sen warns of lightning as Cambodia bakes in heat wave

Hun Sen warns of lightning as Cambodia bakes in heat wave

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has again warned the public about the dangers of storms and lightning following a spell of unseasonably hot weather across the country last week.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Cho Ray-Phnom Penh Hospital in the city’s Meanchey district Saturday, the premier said the heatwave, which saw temperatures rise to as high as 40 degrees, could result in fierce lightning strikes.

“I already warned about lightning strikes, but there are still people dying from lightning,” Hun Sen said.

“I would like to appeal to citizens to be careful and pay attention on this matter.”

During a speech in Siem Reap province on April 22, the premier described the country’s lightning strikes, which accompany the annual monsoon, as “vicious”.

“You need to keep iron substances away from your body, and turn off your telephone and radio during heavy rains in the rice fields,” he said, and noted that it is often “difficult” to escape lightning.

Um Rina, deputy director of the Department of Meteorology at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said that the recent high temperatures were in line with trends across the region, and were to be expected during the transition from the dry season to the rainy season.

“Normally, when the dry season passes and the rainy season comes, the weather is always hot. When the weather is hot and it is raining in nearby areas, there will be storms or lightning,” he said.

He added that the mercury had dipped a little to around 37 degrees on Sunday.

Figures from the National Committee for Disaster Management show that lightning-related deaths in the first four months of this year were down more than 50 percent compared to the same period in 2009.

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