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

In the face of an increase in work-related injuries, government officials gathered in Phnom Penh on Tuesday to start work on a new plan to reduce workplace accidents and to reflect on their achievements over the past five years.

About 3,000 garment workers went on strike in Kompong Chhnang province for a second day Tuesday, accusing their factory of withholding some of their monthly bonuses.

The Kompong Speu Provincial Court has ordered the Ministry of Interior to reopen its investigation into the death of a Frenchman and his four children, a judge said Thursday.

Two forestry administration officials who were arrested and detained in Kratie province for extorting money from pepper farmers were transferred to Phnom Penh on Tuesday upon the request of the Anti-Corruption Unit, officials said.

The Water Festival will be held in Phnom Penh this November for the first time since 353 people were trampled to death or suffocated in a stampede on a Koh Pich bridge during celebrations in 2010, officials said Tuesday.

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