Lightning killed three people on Saturday in separate incidents in Battambang and Kratie provinces, bringing the number of deaths so far this year to 88, officials said.
Keo Vy, deputy director of information and relations at the National Committee for Disaster Management, said that while he did not have figures for the comparable seven-month period last year, 100 people had died in the first six months of 2009.
“The number of deaths is still less than last year,” he said.
Fewer deaths had occurred this year, Mr Vy added, because there was less rain at the beginning of the year.
Mr Vy said that Bun Theara, 19, was struck and died while bringing his cattle home from a rice field in Kratie City, Kratie province, on Saturday.
Also on Saturday, Pora Savit, 19, was struck by lightning and killed instantly at around 7 pm in Banan district’s Bay Damram commune in Battambang province, according to Buth Sambo, Banan district police chief.
“The lightning struck when she was bringing cows home during light rain,” he said. Mr Sambo added that eight people had been killed so far this year in Banan district.
Mr Vy said that lightning strikes most frequently occur in rural areas to people tending cattle or farming. “Most cases happen at the rice field,” he said.
On Saturday evening in Battambang province, Kung Run, 33, was killed while sitting in his kitchen with his family during light rain and heavy thunder at about 9 pm.
“His wife and children were lucky,” said Khun Khoeun, police chief of Prek Chik commune.
Mr Vy said that the NCDM and local authorities are continuing efforts to educate people about the dangers of lightning.
“We try to educate them on how to prevent [being hit by] lightning. If they know how…the number of deaths will reduce.”
Mr Vy added that Battambang, Pursat and Kompong Cham provinces have the highest incidence of lightning deaths.
In 2009, lightning killed a total of 140 people, while 2008 saw 95 lightning deaths.