Lightning killed a woman in Banteay Meanchey province’s Malai district Monday, bringing the total number of lightning deaths in Cambodia for the year so far to 94, according to the National Committee for Disaster Management.
Koy Vy, 37, was struck by lightning at about 6 pm while carrying rainwater to a house located in a cornfield in O’Sampoar commune, deputy district police chief Duong Tum said yesterday.
“Right now the lightning is very powerful and dangerous,” he said. “We told [the villagers] not to go out when it rains, but it’s hard for them to get out of the rain because they are farmers.”
He added that even though this was the first recorded lightning-related death in the district this year, lightning strikes kill people in the area every year.
Last year, Mr Tum noted, four people were killed by lightning at once while transporting corn from their farm.
To prevent deaths from lightning strikes, local police and district officials have tried to educate villagers on how to protect themselves, Mr Tum said. He said that officials have advised villagers to turn off appliances like radios, TVs and mobile telephones during thunderstorms. He added that lightning was hard to avoid when villagers are in rice fields, where most lightning strikes occur.
The NCDM’s count of lightning deaths at this point last year was 120. While there have been fewer deaths this year due to lightning strikes, six deaths were recorded across the country this week.
“This week a lot of people were killed by lightning…mostly due to all the rain,” said Keo Vy, deputy director of information and relations for the NCDM.
Mr Vy said the NCDM was preparing a document for villagers on how to stay safe during thunderstorms, adding that it would be more detailed than previous versions.
“We are preparing the presentation and we also are seeking a sponsor to print posters and booklets,” he said.
“When the [villagers] understand, it will help reduce the deaths by lightning,” he said.