Lightning Kills 94 So Far This Year

Lightning Kills 94 So Far This Year

Lightning killed a woman on Monday in Banteay Meanchey province’s Malai district, bringing the total number of deaths for the year to 94, according to the National Committee for Disaster Management.

Koy Vy, 37, was struck by lightning while carrying rainwater to a house located in a cornfield at around 6 pm 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 killed people in the area every year. Last year, he noted, four people were killed by lightning at once during 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 they have advised villagers to turn off appliances like the 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.

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 National Committee for Disaster Management.

Mr Vy said that the NCDM was preparing a document for villagers on how to be safe during thunderstorms, adding that it would be more detailed than subsequent 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.”


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