• Monday, August 08, 2022

INDIA

India’s lightning strike menace: Nearly 40 killed in northern states of Bihar, UP in 2 days

A lightning strike in India (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

AT LEAST 20 people have been killed by lightning strikes across eight districts in the eastern state of Bihar in a span of 24 hours. In the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh, 18 people lost their lives in lightning strikes in the past two days, officials said on Tuesday (26).

According to the officials in UP , 12 were killed on Tuesday (26) while six on Monday (25). Last week, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath announced a financial assistance of Rs 400,000 (£4,160) each to the families of the people who were killed in lightning strikes. At least 14 were killed while six were injured in lightning incidents in UP on July 20.

Meanwhile in Bihar, more thunderstorm was forecast in the state’s northern parts on Wednesday (27) and Thursday (28). Nitish Kumar, the chief minister, asked people to follow the advice given by the state’s disaster management authorities to avert such tragedy.

Hundreds die in India every year in lightning strikes during monsoons. One of the reasons cited for the high number of deaths in lightning incidents in India is that more people work outdoors in India, compared to other parts of the world and hence are more vulnerable.

On Tuesday, chief minister Kumar announced a compensation of Rs 400,000 for the families of each of the deceased.

Last week, Kumar had held a meeting where he instructed the state officials to install lightning arresters at all government buildings, Indian daily The Times of India newspaper reported.

The geographical position of Bihar makes it particularly vulnerable to frequent lightning strikes during the monsoons, the report added.

In February, the BBC reported that the instances of lightning strikes in India have gone up sharply in recent years.

Satellite data gathered by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology showed that the strikes had “increased rapidly” between 1995 and 2014.

India saw more than 18 million lightning strikes between April 2020 and March 2021, as per a study by the non-profit Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council, marking a 34 per cent rise over a similar period in the year before.

[With agency inputs]

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