Two people were killed by lightning while 52 houses were damaged during thunderstorms in separate cases in Kampong Chhnang province on June 5-6.

In Kampong Leng district, governor Som Chanthorn told The Post that rain with strong winds on the afternoon of June 6 damaged 18 houses, three of which collapsed.

A 40-year-old farmer was also killed by lightning in the middle of his paddy field in Dar commune's Chrolong village.

"At this time, the authorities are intervening to repair victims' houses and provide some funds to the families of the deceased and assist with the funeral," Chanthorn said.

The thunderstorm on June 6 also ravaged 34 houses across the communes of Svay, Thlok Vien and Tbeng Khpos in Samaki Meanchey district, but no one was injured, according to district police chief Seng Chenda.

Chenda told The Post that the authorities are working to repair the victims' houses.

"We have repaired seven houses and donated materials to families for repairing their roofs," he said.

In Rolea Ba'ier district, governor Yong Saovuthy told The Post that the thunderstorm did not affect people's houses, but on June 5 an eight-year-old boy in Kok Banteay commune's Chheu Trach village was struck by lightning and died instantly while herding cows in the middle of a field.

"Currently rain, wind and thunderstorms are very dangerous. It requires everyone to follow expert guidance," Vuthy said.

The two deaths in Kampong Leng and Rolea Ba'ier districts bring the total number of lightning victims nationwide to 81 so far this year. Of those, 49 were killed and 32 injured, according to the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) data obtained by The Post on June 7.

Keo Vy, a senior adviser at NCDM, told The Post that Battambang is the province with the highest number of fatalities and injuries, with 14 killed and eleven injured. Kampong Thom province comes in second with five deaths and five injuries."

Kampong Chhnang province ranks fifth after Banteay Meanchey and Prey Veng provinces, where four were killed and one injured by lightning.

Lightning strikes at the beginning of the rainy season will continue to occur and a high level of vigilance is required whether people are residents of lowland areas or the highlands. Even those in urban areas of the capital and provinces must be careful, said Chan Yutha, a spokesman for the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology.

"Right now natural disasters caused by rain with strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning pose a high risk that requires all of us to be extra vigilant because science is unable to prevent this phenomenon," he said.