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NCDM: Lightning strikes kill 44 in first five months

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Lightning narrowly misses the construction site for new sky scrapers during a violent storm in Phnom Penh's Tonle Bassac commune last week. Hong Menea

NCDM: Lightning strikes kill 44 in first five months

National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) spokesman Keo Vy told The Post on Sunday that in the first five months of this year, 140 people were killed or injured by storms and lightning strikes, while more than 7,000 homes and other buildings were damaged.

Vy said of the number, 44 people were killed and 43 injured by lightning strikes alone, while 64 cows also lost their lives.

Lightning also damaged public buildings such as schools and police administration offices, while the finial of a pagoda had collapsed.

The storms destroyed 856 houses, Vy said and damaged 6,102 others. Another 73 buildings, including schools, a pagoda and other public buildings, suffered damage to their roofs or walls, while two people died and 51 were injured as a result of collapsed buildings.

“Storms and lightning strikes are the main concern for farmers and people living in remote areas, especially at the beginning of the rainy reason."

“There has been adequate rainfall for farmers to plough their farms and rice fields, so they are able to grow crops to support their families and maintain their living conditions,” he said.

A statement issued on Saturday by the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology and obtained by The Post on Sunday said from now until early June, storms and lightning strikes will occur more frequently, while rainfall will be higher than the average for this time of year.

Rain will fall throughout the country, the statement said.

The ministry urged people to take greater care in thunderstorms and to avoid using phones and other electronic devices.

People should stay away from any device that can conduct electricity during thunderstorms, the ministry said.

Despite the ministry’s warnings, people living in the countryside seemed not to pay much attention as, by and large, they continued to plough their fields during rainfall and storms.

In Kampong Thom province, Sandan district police chief Oung Moly told The Post on Sunday that three people were found lying dead under two trees in a cassava field on Saturday morning after a storm swept through the area on Friday afternoon in Chheuteal commune.

He identified the deceased as Chhouy Len, 28, his wife Chea Sok Horn, 27, and their son, Leng Cheng Leak, three.

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