The article "Ten People Killed, Six Hurt by Lightning Strikes in Two Days" (Monday, page 35) is the last of a long series of articles in Cambodia's Khmer and foreign-language press exposing frightening casualties caused by lightning.
Something urgent has to be done at the beginning of this rainy season in order to prevent casualties from increasing and to address a growing lightning scare.
The authorities should rapidly launch an education program through the mass media and local networks giving simple and practical advices to the population, especially in the countryside, as to how to prevent human beings and properties from being struck by lightning.
There are many beliefs and superstitions in Cambodia . But since Benjamin Franklin and his famous kite flying experiments in 1752, everybody should know that lightning is nothing else than electricity from the atmosphere. It is from that fact that Franklin invented the lightning rod, a simple but then-revolutionary device designed to protect people and properties from being hit.
When encouraged to do so with relevant information and some technical advice, I am sure every Cambodian family is able and can afford to install a lightning rod to protect their homes.
A life-saving lightning rod can be easily installed: A tall rod is attached to the outside wall of the house to be protected. One end of the rod points up into the sky; the other end is connected to a cable, which stretches down the side of the house to the ground. The end of the cable is then buried at least three meters underground. The rod attracts the lightning and sends the electric charge into the ground, which dramatically reduces the impact of lightning.
After the implementation of the above-suggested education program, we will hopefully no longer receive such reports as the one you published on Monday: "Phouk Chan, 44, his daughter Phouk Hun Srey Leak, 14, and Penh Sin, 42, were killed [by lightning strike] while sitting under their house."
Member of Parliament
Wednesday, 20 May 2009