Bhubaneswar: Odisha reported 200 deaths due to lightning strikes in the last financial year (2019-20), making it the fourth worst regarding this natural disaster in the country.
Overall India reported 1,771 lightning-related deaths between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020, according to the country’s first-ever Annual Lightning Report released recently.
As per the report, the maximum number of 293 lightning deaths during this period was reported in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Madhya Pradesh (248) and Bihar (221). While Odisha was in the fourth spot, it was followed by Jharkhand (172).
The report was compiled as part of the Lightning Resilient India Campaign, which is a joint initiative by the Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council (CROPC), India Meteorological Department (IMD), the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), India Meteorological Society and an NGO called World Vision India.
The mission of Lightning Resilient India Campaign is to lower the deaths due to lightning by 80% before 2023, the surveyors shared during the report’s launch on December 31, 2020, The Wire Science reported.
“Tribals in Odisha and Jharkhand are found to be especially vulnerable because their livelihood depends on working outdoors — farming, grazing, fishing, etc. And being a poverty-prone area, people live in tin-roof huts which attract lightning,” said CROPC Chairman Colonel Sanjay Kumar Srivastava.
The mining industry in the region also makes it more vulnerable to lightning strikes, he added.
In India, every third death due to natural hazards is due to lightning. Nearly 42,500 people were killed due to lightning strikes between 2001 and 2018, according to NCRB data. Only 4% of these deaths were in urban settings and the rest in rural areas, The Times of India reported.