Thursday, 5 May 2011

Violent storms cause a number of deaths

via CAAI

Thursday, 05 May 2011 15:02Mom Kunthear and Phak Seangly

A SIX-year-old girl survived a lightning strike that killed both her pregnant mother and her father in Kandal province’s Loeuk Dek district yesterday.

Srean Samun, who was five months pregnant, and her 37-year-old husband Long Samang were taking shelter in their wooden house – about 7 kilometres from Thmey village in Peam Raing commune – when it was struck by lightning.

Both were killed by the bolt but their six-year-old daughter, who was taking shelter with them, escaped unharmed.

“The husband was found dead on the ground, while his wife’s back, hair, and clothes were burned,” Thmey village chief Long Moeurn said.

A 13-year-old boy also died yesterday after being hit by lightning while ploughing a field with his grandfather in Kampot province’s Banteay Meas district, officials said.

The deaths come just days after a powerful rainstorm destroyed 12 houses and damaged more than 40 others, in Takeo’s Samrong district on Monday.

The weather also damaged 20 houses in the province’s Daun Keo town, police said yesterday.

Chhuk Engly, Samrong district deputy police chief, said that the storm hit four villages in Lumchong commune including Khvav, Porng Toeuk, Roung, and Preah Theat.

“The storm damaged 57 houses – 12 were completely destroyed and two people received minor injuries,” he said.

Takeo provincial governor Srey Ben has since brought supplies from the Red Cross to support the 57 families whose houses were badly damaged.

“One family received sarongs, blankets, kramars, tents, mats and 25 kilograms of rice,” Chhuk Engly said, adding that two of the victims received donations of 150,000 riels (around US$37.50) each. “The authorities don’t have plans to build houses for them yet, but can [in the future],” he said, adding that this is the first serious storm to hit Samrong district this year.

Keo Vy, chief deputy director of information and relations for the National Committee for Disaster Management, said yesterday that Cambodia does not yet have the equipment to predict and prevent storms because they largely rely on information from other countries.

“The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction advises people to build their houses with stronger materials so that they can be [protected] from storms,” he said, adding that houses in rural areas are susceptible to damage because they are built with weak materials.

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