Nearly 200 killed, injured by fires, storms, lightning

Some 200 people have been killed or injured in fires, storms and lightning in the first eight months of this year, according to Soth Kimkol Mony, spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).

This represents a significant drop from the same period last year.

Kimkol Mony told the Post that during the period, fires, storms and lightning killed 62 people and injured 136.

Compared to the same period last year, the death toll fell by 32, while the number of injured fell by 22.

“Lightning caused the most deaths, followed by fire. Fires, storms and lightning strikes are always serious threats to life that require constant vigilance,” he said.

According to detailed data seen by The Post, the lightning killed 48 and injured 48, killed 79 head of cattle and damaged 20 homes.

The fires killed 11 people and injured 36, with 569 homes, 66 shops, 13 warehouses, nine factories, two schools, two public administration buildings and many hectares of forest damaged.

The storms killed three people and injured 52, destroying 850 homes and damaging 3,085, with 33 roofs of schools, 13 markets and 17 administrative buildings also damaged.

Net Vantha, director of the fire department at the Home Office, called on the public as well as owners of factories and manufacturing companies to pay more attention to the causes of the fires.

These include candles, incense, stoves, wood, coal, gas and electricity, especially wiring systems in buildings.

“This season is the Pchum Ben festival, with the increased use of electricity for cooking in every household,” he said. “So to prevent fires, people should be sure to turn off the stove after cooking and turn off the electricity before leaving the house.”

According to Vantha, most of the fires were caused by power outages, gas stoves and firewood.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology warned on September 13 that people living in low-lying areas along rivers and in mountain and plateau catchments will again face flash floods between September 14 and 20.

The warning came after meteorology officials observed areas of low pressure in northern Thailand, Laos and Vietnam moving towards the central Mekong basin.

The southwest monsoon has shifted from weak to strong, bringing cloudy weather to Cambodia, with moderate to medium rain scattered across the country which is expected to flood previously flooded areas again.

Robert M. Larson