Siem Reap Man Becomes 102nd Lightning Fatality in 2013
By and | November 15, 2013

Lightning struck and killed a 54-year-old farmer in Siem Reap province’s Puok district on Wednesday, making him the 102nd person to be killed by lightning this year, officials said Thursday.

“The man died after being hit by lightning while he was harvesting rice in a storm. He died immediately,” said Keo Vy, cabinet chief of the National Committee for Disaster Management.

Last year, a total of 103 people were killed by lightning, with most deaths occurring in the open countryside as people working in the fields far from shelter are left particularly vulnerable, he said.

“Mostly it happens in remote areas; 80 to 90 of the people who died this year were living in remote areas,” Mr. Vy said.

Despite warning citizens ahead of large storms and asking them to be cautious, not much can be done to prevent the deaths, he added.

“People cannot prevent such disasters from happening,” Mr. Vy said.

Ronald Holle, a meteorologist specializing in lightning and its effects in developing countries for Finnish company Vaisal, which develops instruments for environmental and industrial measurement, said that most people in rural areas lacked any protection from lightning.

“There are only two reliably safe places to be safe from lightning,” Mr. Holle said in an email: either a large house with wiring, plumbing and metal components, or a fully enclosed metal vehicle.

“If neither of these two locations are available, then a person has no reliable place to be safe from lightning,” Mr. Holle said.

“In Cambodia and many other countries, people live and work inside lightning-unsafe buildings, and many work outside in agricultural activities that are fully vulnerable to lightning,” which explains the high number of deaths, he said.

© 2013, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.

LATEST

The government has failed in recent years to take steps to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence committed during the Khmer Rouge, according to the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Three Vietnamese nationals were arrested in Sihanoukville on Wednesday afternoon for kidnapping two 34-year-old Vietnamese men and demanding a $7,000 ransom from each of their families after luring them across the border on the pretense of a gambling trip, police said.

About 50 fired factory workers protested in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal court Wednesday after two of the factory’s five union representatives were summoned for questioning following strikes in February.

The appointment of General Sok Phal to head the Interior Ministry’s newly formed department to monitor migrant workers has raised concerns over his close familial connection to a labor recruitment industry fraught with human rights abuses.

As military police with AK-47s descended on protesting garment workers during their nationwide strike on January 3, Sam Ravy, a manager at one of the many factories along Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Street, was on the phone with his mother-in-law.

The Cambodia Daily | All the News Without Fear or Favor | The Daily Newspaper of Record Since 1993