Rainstorms Bring April Lightning Toll to 13

Heavy rainstorms and lightning on Friday killed three people and damaged over 100 houses across Cambodia, causing widespread damage in Battambang province’s Banan district which had already been struck by storms twice this month, officials said.

The deaths brought the total number of people killed by lightning this month to 13, according to the National Committee for Disaster Management.

Two boys in Kompong Cham province’s Kompong Siem district died instantly at about 5:30 pm when lightning struck a tree where they were picking mangoes in Ro’ang commune, according to district governor Pak Cheat.

“It sounded like heavy gunfire that made the two boys die instantly,” he said of the thunderbolt, adding that the deceased were cousins.

At 4 pm that afternoon, Roeurn Khom, 58, was in a rice field when she was also struck dead by lightning in Battambang’s Ek Phnom district as a storm struck her village in Peam Ek commune, according to district governor Oeun Sokhon, who said the storm tore the roof off of a primary school.

In Banan district to the south, high winds tore roofs and walls from 50 homes but caused no injuries, according to district governor Sreng Sreang, who added that a collection had been started among local families to provide the Cambodian Red Cross with donations for those in need.

With the damage from a storm on Thursday and another over the Khmer New Year on April 14, a total of 73 houses had been damaged in inclement weather in five communes, making the district particularly unlucky, Mr Sreang said.

Siem Reap City police chief Phoeng Chendarith said yesterday that storms had destroyed 39 houses and caused minor injuries to two people in Siem Reap commune on Friday.

Also on Friday in Kompong Cham’s Batheay district, 11 houses were completely destroyed and two cows were killed when a storm struck Sandek commune, according to deputy district governor Cheng Rath.

Ly Thuch, second vice chairman of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said yesterday that Cambodian Red Cross workers were due to arrive in Banan district this morning to distribute aid.


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