Lightning strikes have killed five people in Cambodia in a single day, a local newspaper has reported. Two people were killed in Kampot province, in Cambodia's south, while three were killed in the central provinces of Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Speu, according to the Rasmei Kampuchea Daily. It said four of the victims were farmers working in the fields - a group especially at risk when they continue to work during rainstorms.
Around 50 Cambodians were killed by lightning in the first four months of 2009, while the official toll for last year was 95 deaths. Experts say the South-East Asian country, with its many rivers and lakes, is particularly prone to cloud formations which generate intense lightning storms. These formations can lie just 50 metres above the earth and anyone underneath is vulnerable to lightning strikes.
Cambodia's government is trying to raise awareness in the provinces of measures to protect against such natural disasters, according to Long Saravuth, a weather expert at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology. We hope there will be fewer deaths as more and more people become well-informed about safety during lightning storms, he said.