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Lightning top cause of storm related deaths so far this year

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Strong winds destroyed people’s houses in Sambo commune of Kampong Thom province’s Prasat Sambo district​. FACEBOOK

Lightning top cause of storm related deaths so far this year

In the first half of this year, natural disasters, rainstorms and thunderstorms killed or injured nearly 200 people and damaged thousands of homes, according to data from the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) obtained by The Post on July 7.

According to the NCDM’s Disaster Impact Data table for the first semester dated June 29, natural disasters caused by rainstorms have killed five people and injured 56 others.

Additionally, there were 5,165 homes that were affected including 600 homes that collapsed and 4,565 others with slightly damaged roofs.

The disasters had also caused damage to 31 school buildings, 17 public administration buildings and 100 market stalls.

“Most of the deaths and injuries due to rainstorms . . . are in Siem Reap province, followed by Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Thom, Tbong Khmum and Stung Treng,” the report said.

So far this year lightning has killed 59 people and injured 44 others. In addition, 32 cattle were killed and five houses were damaged.

The report showed that in the first six months of this year, fires killed 14 people and injured 29 others while damaging 321 houses, 80 shops and three schools.

Fires also damaged 11 factories and workshops, 17 public administration offices and eight plantations. There were also 10 forest fires, each of which damaged at least 100 ha of land.

NCDM first vice-president Kun Kim called on local authorities and people to be more vigilant against fires by turning off the electricity and extinguishing stoves, candles, incense and fires before going to bed or leaving the house.

“We cannot prevent natural disasters like thunderstorms, lightning strikes and floods, but we can control fires by turning off electricity and putting out fires before we go to bed and before leaving home and work,” he said.

Kim called on all local authorities and institutions as well as partner organisations to be ready with equipment and supplies to respond to any incidents, especially flooding.

“The national intervention force is ready for land, sea and air transport. But at the provincial and local levels, we need to be ready with shelters that have food and first aid available if floods come,” he said.

Officials have said that the flooding of the Mekong River is not a problem at this time, as the water level has not yet risen to even half the point at which it would be an emergency.

There’s also no region at risk for flash floods yet, according to the Mekong River Level Forecast of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee (CNMC).

The CNMC said that the current rise in the Mekong River did not raise concerns about the flooding of people’s homes or farms in the lowlands of the Mekong Delta.

Heng Rath Monida, director of Kratie provincial department of water resources and meteorology, told The Post that rain was continuing in the catchment area of the Mekong River Basin, causing the Mekong River to continue to subsequently increase as well.

“Although the water levels of the Mekong River now seem to be rising steadily, it is far from the level of alert that requires caution,” he said, adding that the water level to be declared emergency at Kratie Hydrological Station is 22m.

The CNMC predicts that by July 12, the Mekong water level in Kratie province will have risen only to just over 10m.

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