At least 21 people were killed and 18 injured by lightning strikes in the first 15 days of May, with additional deaths and injuries occurring due to stormy conditions, according to the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).

An NCDM report explained that following the Kingdom’s first rainfall on May 3, average temperatures fell by four or five degrees Celsius. During this year’s dry season, the Kingdom sweltered in temperatures of up to 43 degrees.

This year’s rainy season has begun later than in previous years, although a low-pressure front from Indonesia and the central Mekong Basin have brought varying quantities of rain to almost all parts of Cambodia, along with strong winds, lightning and thunderstorms. 

The NCDM noted that with the early rains, stormy conditions have become more common than usual. In the first 15 days of May, it recorded 22 instances of windstorms in the capital and all provinces, with the exception of Kampong Cham, Preah Sihanouk and Kandal provinces. 

Strong winds destroyed 172 homes and damaged an additional 1,144 others, while 12 schools were reported to have lost their roofs. Over seven hectares of cashew farms were also destroyed, with several trees being uprooted.

“Lightning strikes happened 40 times in 15 provinces, killing 21 people and injuring 18 others. They also destroyed 10 homes,” said an NCDM statement, obtained by The Post on May 21.

“The 22 windstorms killed two people and injured nine others due to their homes or trees falling on them,” it added.

The NCDM confirmed that issues of water shortages have largely ended, with the exception of some parts of Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri and Kampong Speu provinces which have seen little rain. It noted that the cultivation of rainy season crops has now begun, but is progressing more slowly than in previous years.

The NCDM forecast that lightning strikes and strong winds are likely to continue for some time, noting that it would continue to educate the public about measures they could employ to keep themselves safe.

Last year, the committee recorded 143 cases of lightning strikes, with 84 deaths and 59 injuries. This marked a sharp uptick from 2022, when 110 strikes were recorded, killing 63 and injuring 58 others.