Two men were killed by lightning on Monday while inspecting a working group on a flat plot of land in Teuk Thla commune’s new village in Banteay Meanchey province’s Serey Sophorn town.
Acting commune police chief Phat Vanny identified the victims as Seak Chichhov, 34, of Teuk Thla commune’s Keab village, and Yang Lee, 33, of Preah Ponlea commune’s Village 4, both in the same township.
The two men were business partners. Chichhov died at the scene and Lee died on the way to Serey Sophorn Hospital.
Vanny said before the incident the sky was cloudy and windy but didn’t appear too ominous. People saw the victims and three other members of their group travelling to inspect and measure a plot of land. They planned to separate the land into plots to construct homes for sale.
“While pulling the measuring tape, there was a sudden flash of lightning and it started raining heavily. Lightning killed Chichhov at the scene and caused Lee to faint. Lee later died on the way to the hospital,” he said.
He said the families of the victims are preparing a traditional funeral ceremony for both of them.
Separately, in Bavel district’s Khlang Meas commune in Battambang province, 25 houses were destroyed after being hit by rain and strong winds on Monday afternoon, said local police officials.
District police chief Sok Sarin said rainstorm and lightning damaged the 25 houses and killed two cows. But nearly 100ha of paddy fields that have been affected by the recent drought was saved.
The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) adviser Keo Vy told The Post on Tuesday that the death of the two businessmen in Serey Sophorn town brought the total number of deaths caused by lightning to 31 this year while 21 others have been injured.
Vy said during the first six months, 45 cows were killed by lightning and nine houses damaged. Strong winds have killed four and injured 43. Winds also destroyed 711 houses, damaged 4,505 others and 48 public administration buildings.
“However, this figure is significantly lower compared to the same period last year,” he said.
The NCDM’s 2019 consolidation report which analysed the first six months of that year said lightning killed 62 people, injured 60 and also killed 80 cows.
Strong winds killed at least four people and injured 77. The winds destroyed 1,193 houses, damaged 9,819 roofs and 62 public administration buildings.