PHNOM PENH (AFP) -Five people, including a four-year-old child, were killed instantly in a lightning strike in southwestern Cambodia, officials said on Friday (May 18), as the onset of the rainy season draws near.
The group was sheltering from a downpour in a mountainous area of Koh Kong province's Thmar Baing district on Thursday, police chief for minor crimes Lay Meng Laing told AFP, adding that three victims were from the same family.
The tropical South-east Asian country of winding rivers and lakes is prone to lightning storms, a problem that some believe is worsening with the ravages of climate change.
Mr Keo Vy, a spokesman for Cambodia's National Committee for Disaster Management, said the number of lightning deaths has now reached 50 people since January, while 41 died last year in the same period.
He said the government had conducted education seminars to warn residents in rural areas about the threats, encouraging them to avoid taking shelter under a tree and not to stand in pools of water.
The strikes also hit livestock, killing 36 cows since January.