Lightning strikes kill 93 in India

An unusually high death toll has been recorded over the past two days even though fatalities due to the weather phenomenon are common in the region during monsoon season.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Lightning illuminates the night sky during a storm over Guwahati, India.

Indian disaster officials on Wednesday said at least 93 people have been struck by lightning and killed over the last two days in India.

Although this week’s death toll due to the weather phenomenon is unusually high, lightning strikes and subsequent fatalities are extremely common during the June-October monsoon season.  

At least 56 people were killed in the Indian state of Bihar. "The death toll has climbed to 56 and 28 are injured. Many of the victims are children and women," said Anirudh Kumar, a senior official at Bihar's diaster management agency. 

Another 37 people were killed across Uttar Pradesh, Jharkand and Madhya Pradesh states, according to figures compiled by local disaster management authorities.

According to the most recent figures from the National Crime Records Bureau, more than 2,500 people were killed by lightning in India in 2014. Most of deceased are usually farmers working the fields.

India's lifeline

The summer monsoon usually arrrives in southern India late May and gradually moves northwards and westwards before it hits Pakistan in July. India receives 80 per cent of its annual rain in this season, which runs till September. 

Although the monsoon brings with it some death and flooding, a light monsoon can result in drought. According to the BBC, over 300 million Indians are presently affected by drought.

In order to better understand the Indian monsoon, researchers will use underwater robots to measure changes in ocean temperature and currents. The USD 11 billion project is being led by the University of East Anglia in the UK.

TRTWorld and agencies